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GMB Confident That Security Licensing Is Being Achieved Despite Problems In Dealing With Applications

Union warns that time has run out for cowboy elements

Latest figures released by the regulatory body, the Security Industry Authority indicate that of 120,000 licensable security guards working in Guarding, CCTV, Cash and Valuables in Transit and Close Protection, 45,000 will be licensed and a further 24,000 may be lawfully deployed under the Approved Contractor Scheme by tomorrow’s( 20th March) deadline .

The GMB trade union is the major trade union representing workers in the security industry. It fully supports the regulation and licensing of the industry.

Licences are required to work in the guarding sector of the industry from 20th March 2006. The Security Industry Authority (SIA) agreed with the industry that licensing applications would be phased in from January 2005. The private security industry has had over two years to prepare itself for licensing which will transform the industry by bringing in higher standards through vetting, training and recognised qualifications.

The industry agreed to submit an agreed number of applications every month. However, although some security companies kept to this schedule, many others did not. A huge number of applications started to arrive from December 2005 onwards. The build up has led to a backlog and a lengthening of the processing times.

Gary Smith, GMB National Officer for the Security Industry met with John Saunders, the Chief Executive of the Security Industry Authority on 16th March 2006 to raise concerns on behalf of GMB members who are becoming increasingly concerned about what will happen if they have not received their licences by 20th March. After that date it will be illegal to work as a security guard.

John Saunders was able to reassure the GMB that it is taking a pragmatic and flexible approach to ensure as many security guards as possible will be able to legally work following the deadline.

Companies which have achieved Approved Contractor status will be permitted to deploy a proportion of security personnel whose applications are currently being processed.
Over 250 companies had now applied to the SIA for Approved Contractor Status, and the SIA is processing them within 5 working days.
The SIA has employed more staff and established two additional processing centres to meet the last minute rush – they are now able to handle 24,000 applications per month.
The SIA expects the majority of security guards to be licensed by June 2006.

Gary Smith, National Officer for the GMB said: "The GMB view is that is any individual working in the industry, who meets the criminality criteria, has successfully passed the training qualification and has an application in the SIA system at 20th March ought not to suffer any legal sanction."


End

Contact: Gary Smith National Officer on 0771 0618909, Steve Pryle, GMB Press Officer on 07921 289880 or Rose Conroy, GMB Press Officer on 07974 251 823

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