A week long multi-agency operation targeting criminal activity within the city’s pub and club trade concluded on Friday [23 Sept].
The joint campaign was launched by the Security Industry Authority, the Serious Organised Crime Agency and Avon and Somerset Constabulary. It aimed to support legitimate businesses that provide licensed staff to venues and to safeguard them from the threat posed by organised crime.
As part of the operation, night time inspections were carried out on Saturday last week [17 Sept], with 10 venues visited and 45 door supervisors checked. All 45 operatives had a valid SIA licence, but several did not have them on display. In total, 13 people were found to be breaking licence conditions.
Of these, three door supervisors had failed to notify the SIA of criminal convictions, a serious matter that can result in revocation of the SIA licence and prosecution. SIA investigators and police are now looking into this further.
Ten individuals were issued with warnings by SIA investigators; six for failing to display their licence whilst on duty; three for failing to inform the SIA of a change of address; and one for displaying a photocopy of their licence and also for failing to notify the SIA of their change of address.
The unannounced checks in the city on Saturday were followed by a second stage of activity during which officers from the SIA, SOCA and police met with venues, companies and individuals with possible links to serious and organised crime.
The operation was part of the first phase of a wider campaign that will see the agencies conduct similar operations across the UK.
Dave Humphries, SIA Director of Compliance, Intelligence and Communication, said:
“The SIA is committed to working in partnership with SOCA and the police to ensure the safety of the public and to target organised crime and SIA licensing offences. These results show that some door staff underestimate the seriousness of breaching licence conditions. I must emphasise that this is a criminal offence and can lead to door staff having their SIA licences revoked and being prosecuted.”
SOCA Deputy Director Andy Baker said:
“The pub and club scene is a very attractive market for organised criminals, particularly those looking to direct the supply of drugs. We know that criminal groups actively seek out opportunities to control the security around venues. That’s why SOCA and its partners are working with the ones servicing Bristol’s vibrant nightlife and the firms that provide their security staff. This is not about penalising those who are coming up short. It’s about closing off criminal opportunities before they can be exploited. We want to send the message that using properly licensed staff helps prevent criminals from infiltrating the security industry, creates a safer environment for the public to enjoy themselves and is good for legitimate business.
“We have gained useful intelligence on criminal activity from both the security industry and the public during this exercise. The work does not stop here though, and we are now looking at carrying out similar operations with the SIA and police forces in other major cities.”