SIA Update – January 2016

The following is an update from the SIA:

“We lead this month with the ‘Review of the SIA’; all private security industry stakeholders have the opportunity to contribute to the review and shape the future by completing an online survey. Please take the time to complete it, the deadline for responses is 18 February 2016.

“We have updated the Changes to Licensing section of the website with further guidance that will help inform and prepare you for the forthcoming changes to our licensing services.

“HMRC has recently produced new sets of e-learning guidance for the self-employed.

Review of the SIA
“As we highlighted in last month’s edition we are undergoing a review as part of the Government’s commitment to regular and rigorous reviews of the function and form of public bodies.

“The review began on 11 January and will be carried out on behalf of the Secretary of State by a senior Home Office official who is independent of both the SIA and our sponsorship unit in the Home Office.

“All private security industry stakeholders have the opportunity to contribute to the review and shape the way we regulate in the future by completing an online survey, please take the time to complete it.

“This is an important stage for the development of the private security industry. Since our formation the sector has largely moved from regulatory compliance to a commitment to improving standards and protecting the public.

“There is still important work to do; we are working on a new licensing system for individuals and businesses that will make regulation more efficient and effective.

“Challenges remain from serious and organised crime, and from poor practice in some areas. Business licensing and the regulation of Private Investigations continue to be of particular interest. We would welcome your thoughts on these important issues, so please complete the online survey.

“We have created a new publication that you will find informative that focuses on the work we have been doing to improve standards in the private security industry.

“The deadline for responses is 12:00 pm, 18 February 2016.

“Thank you for your ongoing support.

Changes to Licensing
“In the first half of 2016 we will launch a new self-service website that will provide businesses and individuals with greater control of the licensing process.

“We are aware that for some these changes to our licensing processes are seen as coming into effect in the distant future.

“However, we encourage and need you to engage with, understand and communicate the changes to ensure the new services are to roll out effectively.

“The main changes are:

  • Licence applications and renewals will be completed online
  • All individuals (regardless of whether you work for a business using one of our new services) will need to create a personal online account – you will need a valid email address to create an online account
  • New services will be available to Approved Contractors (Licence Management and Licence Assist) which will provide businesses with greater control of the licensing process of their employees
  • Businesses will be able to pay for licence applications with our Licence Pay Only service as well as create customised ‘watchlists’ on our improved Licence Status Checker
  • Bulk paper applications and renewals will no longer be available
  • Customers will be able to self-serve the majority of queries on line or through their employing business freeing up our smaller call handling capacity to address complex enquiries.

“We will continue to update our website as we get closer to the launch of the new services.

“Engaging with the private security industry is a priority for the SIA and attending events gives us the chance to meet with industry people that we might not otherwise see. It also gives you an opportunity to ask us questions and share your thoughts with us.

“We will be attending the following two events in February:

“Security Twenty-16 – Nottingham, 4 February

“The conference is organised by Professional Security Magazine and attracts delegates from many sectors of the private security industry. Our Chair Elizabeth France will give a presentation entitled “Forward Thinking” and we will have a stall in the general area.

“National Pubwatch Conference 2016 – Sheffield, 23 February

“National Pubwatch plays a key role in promoting good practice in all licensed premises throughout the UK. Its key aim is to help achieve a safe, secure and responsibly led social drinking environment in all licensed premises and thereby reduce alcohol-related crime.

Enforcement News
“Operation Blizzard – tackling counterfeit licences on Oxford Street

“The Metropolitan Police have formed a dedicated policing resource for Oxford, Regent and Bond Streets in central London known as the ORB team. We have recently started working with this team following the discovery of several counterfeit SIA licences on Oxford Street.

“Since then anti-counterfeit training has been provided to officers and we are collaborating with the local Safer London Business Partnership, which covers Westminster, to raise awareness. Between November 2015 and January 2016, Operation Blizzard ran in the area with the aim of increasing visibility and deterring crime on the busiest shopping street in Europe – Oxford Street. The aim of our operation was to test compliance with the Private Security Industry Act 2001, increase awareness of the SIA with retailers, identify any cloned licences, gather intelligence and raise visibility.

“Our London investigation team, accompanied by ORB officers, visited 34 outlets and checked 44 SIA licences, all of which were valid. The team issued four warnings for breaching SIA licence conditions which including failure to display the licence and failing to notify change of address.

“In January the London team undertook part two of Operation Blizzard visiting 30 stores in Regent Street and Bond Street. Twenty locations had security on duty and 42 SIA licences were checked. All SIA licences were valid and three warnings were issued for breaches of licence conditions.

“The intelligence gathered during this operation identified several new companies and highlighted the companies that are allegedly instructing or permitting their security operatives not to display their SIA licence, in breach of licence conditions.

Business Matters
“New Guidance for the Self-Employed

“HMRC has recently produced new sets of e-learning guidance for the self-employed.

  • Tax guide for the self-employed – It covers telling HMRC about your business, keeping business records, claiming expenses and sending tax returns.
  • Business expenses for the self-employed – This covers pre-trading and ‘day to day’ revenue expenses, also how to claim for items used for both business and personally.
    With up to date guidance and case studies to aid understanding, these interactive and flexible and easy to use guides offer support and reassurance.

Licensing Matters
“From Thursday 1 October 2015 all SIA licence applicants who are resident or have previously lived in Northern Ireland will need to request a criminal record check directly from Access Northern Ireland (AccessNI). This follows changes to AccessNI’s processes.

“To request a criminal record disclosure, you will need to register and complete an application through AccessNI’s online account. We will write to you informing you when you need to do this and provide you with a link to the online account. Please ensure you fill in your full name (including any middle names) and you only apply for a standard disclosure. Failure to do these may lead to a delay in your licence application.

“AccessNI will provide you with your criminal record check and also send a copy to us.

“This process applies to anyone who currently lives, or has lived in Northern Ireland, or the Republic of Ireland, in the last five years.

Licence Processing Times
“In December 2015, 77% of all applications were processed within 25 working days”.

SIA Website