On 12 December 2018 at Antrim Crown Court, Steven Ian Nixon (47) of Portadown – the owner of Eventsafe Security – was sentenced to nine months’ imprisonment for fraud and three months for supplying unlicensed security operatives. Both jail sentences were suspended for three years. Nixon has also been given 100 hours of community service.
In January 2017, the Security Industry Authority (SIA) received intelligence that Nixon was still operating as a sole trader via his company Eventsafe Security despite having his licence revoked in May 2016 due to criminality.
As a sole trader under the law, Nixon and his company Eventsafe Security are seen as one and the same. He’s the person responsible for the supply, management and direction of all security operatives working for Eventsafe Security.
When the SIA questioned him at the time, Nixon claimed to no longer run Eventsafe Security. However, SIA investigators found evidence to the contrary. The case was referred to the SIA’s Criminal Investigations Team for investigation.
During the investigation, Nixon sought to mislead the Regulator. He falsified statements using the name of an individual (without this person’s knowledge) suggesting that this person was now running Eventsafe Security.
SIA investigators found that Nixon provided businesses in Magherafelt and Portadown with bogus public liability insurance documents to gain their custom. He later presented another individual, Nathan Wallace (a door supervisor), whom he claimed had now taken over Eventsafe Security.
Requests for information
The SIA made several requests for information and documentation to Nathan Wallace to confirm his status at Eventsafe. All approaches were met with silence.
The Regulator also questioned a number of door supervisors who worked at Eventsafe. They all stated that the business was run by Nixon whom they regarded as their manager.
In March last year, Nathan Wallace was convicted of failing to respond to the request for information from the SIA regarding his role in Eventsafe. He was sentenced in June 2018 at Armagh Magistrates’ Court where he received a two-year Conditional Discharge and was ordered to pay costs of £172.00.
Throughout the SIA’s investigation, Nixon declined repeated approaches for an interview to explain his position. He was prosecuted for a number of offences across several locations in Northern Ireland:
*Managing and directing a licensed operative engaged in licensable conduct at Ballymena despite not having an SIA licence himself
*Supplying an unlicensed operative to engage in licensable activity in Magherafelt
*Two counts of fraud for using forged insurance documents to obtain contracts at Magherafelt and a contract at Portadown
Convicted on evidence presented
Nixon failed to appear at all the court hearings. In July, he was convicted despite his absence on the evidence presented by the SIA in both Ballymena and Magherafelt. Following this, warrants were issued for his arrest.
In October, Nixon was sentenced to a £400 fine for working without a licence. In addition, he was ordered to pay a Victim Surcharge of £15 and fixed costs of £165. The remainder of the offences were sent to Antrim Crown Court for sentencing.
The SIA is now pursuing the confiscation of Nixon’s assets under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. A hearing for this will take place in the coming months.
At the Antrim Crown Court on 12 December, presiding Judge McReynolds commented that the fraud was “blatant and premeditated”. He stated that Nixon displayed a “lack of candour and transparency” and has an “inability to tell the truth.”
Antrim Crown Court also heard that Nixon had 39 previous convictions. Judge McReynolds reminded Nixon that, should he commit any further offences over the next three years, he will almost certainly be sent to prison.
Seriousness of offending recognised
Pete Easterbrook, criminal investigations manager at the SIA, said: “The conviction of Steven Nixon for a range of offences demonstrates his complete indifference to the fact that there’s regulation of the private security industry and the safeguards it affords. In addition, Mr Nixon has shown that he was more than prepared to lie to the SIA, his customers and those whom he employed. Those lies very quickly unravelled. I’m pleased that the court has recognised the seriousness of his offending in the sentence passed. Determined to run his business by any means necessary, he put the public at risk not only by supplying unlicensed security operatives, but also by cheating his clients with forged insurance documents such that he could secure their custom”.
Easterbrook concluded: “The majority of those who work within the security industry are appropriately trained and licensed. They carry out their roles professionally and to a high standard. There is, however, a minority who believe that they can operate with impunity and engage in criminality. My message to them is straightforward. There is no place for you in the security industry. This case serves as a stark warning that, if you commit criminal offences, you will be prosecuted.”