I am still enjoying my (fairly recent) freedom from school holidays that means I am at work during most of August. This has a number of advantages, not least the number of people travelling in the mornings, but also the relative calm allows me to catch up on many of my office responsibilities and I have been able to get out and talk to some of our licensed individuals and ACS companies.
In late July I was invited to a National Doorwatch event in Nottingham. I was joined by other staff from the SIA and we were able to talk to door supervisors from the Nottingham area about how we handle applications, and in particular how we try to deal with more difficult cases and appeals. We were able to advise on the importance of obtaining independent references and I set out the latest position on the proposals for the new regulatory regime. The highlight of the evening for me, however, was the local awards to door staff for going above and beyond their responsibilities. I was impressed again by the commitment of many door supervisors to supporting each other and making sure the public stay safe.
I have also met with the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) to update on preparations for the security arrangements at the Games. The SIA will continue to support the planning for security at the Olympics and to plan for how security will be delivered by licensed staff at the many other events that are planned during the time of the Games.
The SIA Chairman, Ruth Henig, and I travelled to Belfast at the beginning of August. It is now almost two years since the SIA regime was rolled out in Northern Ireland and responsibility for our work there is now fully devolved to the elected assembly. Since December 2009, we have licensed more than 11,500 individuals and there are 12 ACS companies based in Northern Ireland. Our compliance teams have been finding good levels of compliance on their visits too. Ruth and I met with David Ford, the Northern Ireland Justice Minister, to discuss how regulation is working and to consider the future of regulation in Northern Ireland. We were pleased with the support shown for effective regulation, although we recognised the particular needs of the devolved government.
Whilst in Northern Ireland I also took the opportunity to meet with two ACS companies. It was great to hear how security companies in Northern Ireland have achieved ACS accreditation and are proud of the value it brings to their business. As always, we are pleased to hear the views of those holding licences on how the regime has affected them.
In the weeks ahead I will be preparing for our Commitment to Regulation conference in Sheffield on 12 October. This will be an important conference for the SIA where we will be able to share the latest thinking and decisions on the new regulatory regime. I hope to attract delegates from across the private security industry to join us at the conference.