On Wednesday 13 May at Manchester and Salford Magistrates’ Court, a former security director was sentenced to a 16-week custodial sentence, ordered to pay £10,000 in costs and disqualified from being a company director for five years.
Wayne Tunstall, 33, of Field Lane, Crewe in Cheshire was found guilty of four offences under the Private Security Industry Act 2001: using unlicensed security operatives, engaging in licensable conduct without a licence, working as an unlicensed security director and failing to provide information to industry Regulator the Security Industry Authority (SIA).
Tunstall had been the shadow director of WNT Security Ltd of Crewe in Cheshire. The company had provided unlicensed security operatives between October 2013 and February 2014 on a security guarding contract serving industrial premises in Warrington.
Tunstall also undertook security guarding duties despite not holding an SIA licence. Tunstall’s SIA licence was revoked in April 2011 on the grounds of criminality.
Tunstall continued to work as a company director but, in an attempt to avoid prosecution, he installed a colleague – namely Kristian Saunders – as company director of WNT Security Ltd. Tunstall also failed to provide information to the SIA regarding the staff used on WNT contracts.
On 1 December 2014, Kristian Saunders (of The Circle, Crewe in Cheshire) pleaded guilty to two offences under the Private Security Industry Act 2001. Saunders was fined £500 and ordered to pay £1,250 in costs.
Tunstall was summonsed to attend Manchester Magistrates Court in July 2014, although he missed a number of subsequent hearings. On 19 January 2015, Tunstall was found guilty in his absence and finally sentenced on 13 May 2015.
In sentencing Tunstall, District Judge Saunders said: “It’s quite clear that these were deliberate acts on your part and quite clear you chose to commit these offences and deliberately concealed your position to carry on trading.”
Commenting on this case, SIA investigations manager Nathan Salmon explained: “Wayne Tunstall deliberately concealed that he was not licensed to work in the private security industry and, by installing Kristian Saunders as WNT company director, he continued to supply security services acting with a total disregard for the law.”
Salmon went on to state: “Using individuals to front businesses will not protect anyone from prosecution. The Private Security Industry Act 2001 specifically interprets shadow directors and the SIA will assess personal liability, meaning those guilty of offences cannot hide behind others.”
In conclusion, Salmon stressed: “This strong conviction highlights that security regulation exists in order to protect those who use contracted security services and the general public, as well as to ensure the effectiveness of security businesses that operate within the industry.”
SIA: “Changing how we license the security industry”
In February, the Security Industry Authority announced that it will be making changes to modernise the licensing system and streamline processes.
Towards the end of 2015, the SIA will be launching new online services that will improve the information available to applicants and businesses, speed up the application process and enhance the service that the Regulator provides.
Individuals applying for (or renewing) a licence will do so through a new self-service website. The changes being implemented will include:
*Online personal accounts for licence applicants and licence holders
*Real-time information about where applications are in the process
*Alerts informing applicants when their licence is granted and when it will expire
*The ability for licence holders to amend their personal details and circumstances directly without having to contact the SIA
*An online appeals process
*All licence renewals will be online
*The new licensing site will be compatible with the latest browsers
*Paper applications will only be accepted in exceptional circumstances
Those applying for their inaugural SIA licence will be required to have their identification documents verified at a participating Post Office.
The application and renewal process will also change if an employer applies or renews on behalf of an applicant. How it differs depends on whether the employer is a member of the SIA’s Approved Contractor Scheme (ACS).
Any organisation will be able to pay the licence fee on behalf of an individual through the new website once the applicant has completed their online application.
The bulk paper application service will no longer be available. Following this update, the SIA will provide more information to those that use bulk applications.
Those that wish to check licence statuses will be able to do so using the improved company licence checker.
In addition to the option above, ACS companies will be able to benefit from additional services, namely Licence Assist and Licence Management.
Licence Assist will:
*Allow companies to complete and pay for an application on behalf of their staff
*Inform companies when a licence is granted
*Require individuals to keep their personal SIA account up-to-date and new applicants to have identity documents checked at a participating Post Office
Licence Management will:
*Enjoy all the benefits of Licence Assist
*Further reduce the time taken to apply for a licence by allowing the company to carry out and endorse identity checks for new applicants without the need to attend a Post Office
*Provide the ability to make changes to employees’ online details (such as alterations of circumstances) on their behalf
*Require the company to meet set criteria and sign a legal agreement
A small number of ACS companies will be trialling Licence Management this year prior to the service becoming more widely available in 2016.
Further information will soon be available on the SIA’s website at: www.sia.homeoffice.gov.uk/