This year’s Security Industry Authority conference was chaired by Bill Mathews, Acting Chair of the SIA Board, who welcomed delegates to the London venue.
The event opened with a video address from Lord Taylor of Holbeach, parliamentary under secretary for criminal information and the Minister responsible for the SIA. His speech outlined the Government’s intentions for reforming regulation of the private security industry. He highlighted the SIA’s recent roadshows and how the valuable feedback received would be used to further refine the approach. He mentioned the Government’s intention to regulate private investigations and how this would be crucial to improving the reputation of the sector. He went on to highlight the Government’s new strategy to tackle serious and organised crime that includes formation of local partnerships across the country. He encouraged the security industry to engage with these partnerships.
He told delegates that “The work to be done on regulating private investigations is part of the Government’s wider aim to raise standards in the industry, combat criminality, especially organised crime, and is central to what the Government wants the SIA to continue to do in the future.”
Read the complete speech (PDF, download size: 140kb)
Lord Ramsbotham gave a presentation on physical restraint. He spoke about his experience of chairing the National Independent Commission on enforced removals. The commission was set up to look at a number of issues around enforced removals and the appropriate use of physical restraint. This followed the death of Jimmy Mubenga who died while being restrained by security escorts on an aircraft during his enforced removal. The commission’s main recommendations are:
• The need for a multi-disciplinary panel for complex returns,
• The need for a more robust system for regular and appropriate licensing of contracted detainee custody officers (DCOs) and escort staff,
• The need for independent oversight of the enforced removal process,
• The need for pain-free restraint techniques appropriate for use during enforced removals.
In addition to this the commission recommended that the Private Security Industry Act 2001 be amended to require contracted detainee custody officers (DCOs) and escort staff be licensed by the SIA.
Bill Waite, Group CEO of the Risk Advisory Group, gave a presentation entitled ‘Understanding the Private Investigations Sector’. Bill outlined the variety of roles currently undertaken within the private investigations sector and highlighted conflicts with the current definition under the Private Security Industry Act 2001. Bill presented a case that regulation using the current definition would be disproportionate to the risks. He stated that criminal law already creates a regime which provides protection and enforcement, not lack of regulation, is the main issue. He supported regulation of the sector but for intrusive investigative processes as identified by SIA and Risk Advisory in 2006 – necessary, justified, proportionate.
Download Bill’s presentation (PDF, download size: 781kb)
Terri Jones, Director General of Skills for Security. Terri’s presentation outlined how Skills for Security works with employers to improve security skills and the standards of professionalism. Terri discussed how they will continue in the role of sector body, to support the qualification and training needs of the industry and to promote the industry and its opportunities to ensure it is a career destination of choice. Terri’s presentation went on to look at forthcoming work in 2014 that included developing the National Occupation Standards and qualifications, as well as changes to labour market information. Terri also mentioned changes to apprenticeship standards process and new apprenticeships for the security sector
Download Terri’s presentation (PDF, download size: 804kb)
Geoff Zeidler, Director of GZC Ltd, gave an overview of the SIA’s Strategic Consultative Group (SCG). He explained the role of the SCG is to provide strategic oversight of plans and progress of transition to a new regulated regime keeping Ministers & stakeholders informed. He outlined the current issues some of which included:
• Business Licensing in complex provider situations,
• Business Licensing employee cost basis in multi-employer situations,
• No proportionate sanctions without primary legislation – only Criminal or licence withdrawal,
• Continued process duplication with the issuing of individual licenses.
He went on to explain how the group has been effective for industry engagement and enabled many issues to be clarified and addressed. The SCG has guided some practical changes although there were still a number of core issues to be resolved.
Download Geoff’s presentation (PDF, download size: 83kb)
Gordon Meldrum, Director Organised Crime from the National Crime Agency (NCA), spoke about the remit of the new agency and more specifically about the issues surrounding serious and organised crime.
He provided an overview of the NCA explaining that it is broken down into four commands: Organised Crime Command (OCC), Border Policing Command (BPC), and Economic Crime Command (ECC). And Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command (CEOP).
The new agency is a 24/7 operational crime-fighting agency with increased visibility and transparency. It has a broader remit in cutting serious and organised crime.
He went on to highlight the damage caused by serious and organised crime in the UK and highlighted the agencies main strategic aims to tackle it.
The strategy will:
• Prosecute and disrupt people engaged in serious and organised criminality,
• Prevent people from engaging in serious and organised crime,
• Increase protection from serious and organised crime,
• Reduce the impact of criminality where it takes place.
Download Gordon’s presentation (PDF, download size: 619kb)
Stephen Phipson, Director Security Industry Engagement from the Home Office, gave a talk on co-ordinating the Government’s work with the private security industry. He highlighted the White Paper entitled National Security through Technology that recognised how a healthy and competitive industry makes a significant contribution to developing and sustaining key defence and security capabilities, as well as contributing to export-led growth and a rebalanced economy. His team’s responsibility is to reach across the security domain of Government including developing a UK Security Brand to promote confidence in UK product and services. As well as supporting exports across the wider industry, not just the regulated sectors.
Charlotte Jennings, Deputy Director for Operations at the SIA, explained how as part of her new role she wanted to gain a better understanding of how security companies operate and she would welcome spending time with them at their operation. She was looking to set up an end user group to develop ideas and gain valuable feedback on our services. She highlighted how our service had changed significantly in the last 12 months including the introduction of our application service with the Post Office. This new service has reduced the reliance on paper applications, reduced rejection rates and reduced cost. She announced that in January 2014 the SIA would stop issuing paper applications. Individuals will only be able to renew their licence using our telephone renewals service. Businesses should make use of the already successful online e- Renewals service which allows them to renew licences or apply for additional licences on behalf of their employees. Charlotte also stated that the SIA will continue to offer the bulk application service so businesses can manage the completion and submission of new licence applications on behalf of their employees. However, to use this facility the registered company sponsor will be expected to apply for an exemption.
Bill Butler, Chief Executive of the SIA, thanked delegates for attending and commented on the varied agenda of the day. He noted that the role of the private security industry is very diverse and that discussions go beyond regulation of the sector. Bill highlighted that the reliance the Government places on the private security industry is changing and growing, both the scale and the scope of the private security industry is significantly increasing. Bill drew attention to the noteworthy problems in the door supervision sector of restraint causing injuries and deaths. He urged that the private security industry recognise the high profile and high expectations of those working in it. Bill welcomed critics of regulation for speaking at the conference today, recognising it is important that a debate takes place on the future of regulation. Bill reinforced that skills are key to the future of the industry, that training is more important than criminality to raise standards and that it should not just be the responsibility of the regulator but of the businesses working in the sector. Bill closed by saying if the industry wants to end the burden of regulation, it must take action itself by raising standards and professionalism in the industry.