Cowboy security firms will be banned from any contracts in social housing construction across Scotland, Housing and Communities Minister Alex Neil revealed today. Contracts to guard building sites will only be awarded to firms which are members of the UK Security Industry Authority approved contractors’ scheme.
Police forces and law enforcement agencies across Scotland have teamed up to target unscrupulous security firms involved in the construction sector. The new rules extend to housing associations and other affordable housing grant recipients the same checks that already apply to Scottish Government departments. This year, the social housing construction sector is backed by £502 million from the Scottish Government.
Alex Neil said: “We are slamming the door on rogue security firms. We want them off our building sites and off our streets. Police tell us that some firms providing ‘security’ are no more than fronts for organised crime. They use cash from these contracts to bankroll their trails of misery of drug dealing and violence. They should have no hiding place in Scotland – least of all siphoning from budgets which help the most vulnerable people who need social housing. More often than not, they are the main victims of these criminals.”
Justice Secretary Kenny McAskill said: “Each and every one of us can play a part in the fight against series and organised crime. For those of us in Government, that means ensuring that the contracts we award go only to bone fide companies. These positive measures will ensure that taxpayers’ cash does not end up in the grubby paws of crooks. Working in partnership with the SIA is part of a wider drive by police forces in Scotland to target organised criminals wherever they operate.”
Gordon Meldrum, Director General of the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency said: “Serious organised criminals are opportunists who care only about profit and power. We know that they will look to infiltrate every area of our society to further those aims and they don’t care about the trail of broken lives and communities they leave in their wake. But we are alive to what they are up to and working together we are getting better at closing down opportunities. This new initiative will help make the social housing sector a tougher nut to crack, and that will disrupt their plans. Good news for tenants and social landlords, and good news for Scotland.”
Security Industry Authority Chief Executive Bill Butler said: “The SIA welcomes the Minister’s announcement and the recognition of the value the Approved Contractor Scheme brings. Joint working initiatives with government, the police and other Scottish stakeholders have provided us with opportunities to help to pursue and disrupt the small pockets of criminals who seek to exploit their position and give the security industry a bad name.”