Leigh Turner – Addressing Worker Exploitation in the Security Industry

Leigh Turner, Founder & CEO of Elite Tactical Force LTD and Ambassador & Representative for the Security Industry Federation discusses the scourge of pervasive worker exploitation and how the Security Industry Authority must undertake urgent action.

The security industry finds itself at a critical juncture, besieged by the scourge of pervasive worker exploitation. Disturbingly, numerous reports have surfaced, revealing shockingly low wages ranging from £8.75 to £11 per hour, a blatant affront to the established National Living Wage of £11.44 (Ages 21+) for the year 2024. Such flagrant disregard for fair compensation is exacerbated by the prevalence of cash-in-hand payments, Unvetted/Unscreened and unlicensed individuals perpetuating an environment of exploitation and injustice via WhatsApp Groups and Facebook Groups.

This reprehensible state of affairs transcends mere legal infractions; it strikes at the very heart of human dignity and fairness. As security officers, protector, safeguarding officers. We are duty-bound by ethical imperatives to vehemently condemn these exploitative practices and advocate for equitable remuneration and dignified working conditions for all.

However, words alone are insufficient. The time for action is now. It is imperative that regulatory bodies such as the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA), the Security Industry Authority, HM Revenue & Customs, the UK Home Office, the National Crime Agency, and the Serious Fraud Office come together in a concerted effort to dismantle these illicit operations systematically.

It is abundantly clear that the current regulatory framework has faltered, allowing a rampant proliferation of abusive practices to take root unchecked. To rectify this dire situation, the Security Industry Authority must undertake urgent and comprehensive reforms to its oversight mechanisms, including the implementation of robust business licensing requirements and improvement & update of the PSIA: Private Security Industry Act 2001 aimed at reinstating accountability and transparency throughout the industry.

Without decisive intervention, chaos will continue to reign supreme, with workers enduring substandard wages and deplorable working conditions. It is imperative that we institute fundamental reforms, chief among them being the adoption of mandatory business licensing, which will not only compel adherence to industry standards but also serve as a bulwark against the exploitation of security officers.