The ex-director of a Peterborough security firm was yesterday (Thurs 14 May) given an 18-month community punishment order and ordered to pay 20,000 in costs after pleading guilty to 33 offences. During the hearing at Peterborough Magistrates Court, Paul John OMahony, who had acted as director of Central Security (East Anglia) Ltd, pleaded guilty to 33 counts of supplying or employing unlicensed security guards (under Section 5(1) of the Private Security Industry Act 2001) between November 2007 and February 2008. This was by way of Section 23 (1) of the Act which provides for personal criminal responsibility for company officers in certain situations.
In court, it was explained that of Central Security’s 43 employees, 36 did not hold SIA licences at the time. The premises they guarded were Cambridge City Council and Peterborough City Council sites and markets, and one employee was involved in transferring cash from council premises. District Judge Sheraton took the view that a high level Community Punishment Order was appropriate, stating that the offences were clearly too serious to be dealt with by way of a fine. Mr OMahony received an 18-month Community Punishment Order with the requirement to undertake 220 hours unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay 20,000 in costs.
Nigel Davies, an SIA Head of Investigation said: This is an excellent result, and shows how seriously the courts take such offences. We hope this sends a clear and strong message to security companies that breaches of the Act will not be tolerated. We urge buyers of security services to check the Register of Licence Holders on our website to ensure the security operatives they use are fully compliant with the law.