On Wednesday (14 February), Michael Ryan, Director of Coventry-based IG Security Services Limited, was found guilty at Coventry Magistrates’ Court of providing unlicensed security operatives, an offence under the Private Security Industry Act (PSIA) 2001. Mr Ryan was fined £850 and his company, IG Security Services Ltd was awarded a penalty of £1,000; in addition he has to pay full court costs of £5,265.
The Security Industry Authority (SIA) began investigating the company in April 2017, when they discovered Karl Morrison, an unlicensed security guard, working for IG Security Ltd; the director of which was Michael Ryan. Enquiries established that IG Security supplied Karl Morrison in response to an illegal traveller encampment in Coventry.
SIA investigators, together with West Midlands Police officers, questioned Karl Morrison as he patrolled the premises. The SIA investigation team attempted to interview him but found him to be aggressive and non-cooperative. The SIA investigation team also tried to interview Mr Ryan but he walked away as he was being cautioned.
On 26 October 2017, at Leamington Spa Magistrates’ Court, Karl Alexander Morrison (now known as Karl O’Brien), was found guilty of working without an SIA licence at the illegal traveller’s encampment. He was sentenced to eight weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, and was ordered to do 120-hours of unpaid work and pay court costs.
In court, Mr Ryan described how he considered Karl Morrison to be a ‘steward’ and did not, therefore require an SIA licence. Evidence from witnesses, however, contradicted this, and indicated that Morrison’s activities made him licensable. In making their decision, the court agreed with the SIA that that designated activity is clearly defined within the Private Security Industry Act 2001, and irrespective of what someone’s job title may be, it is the activities they carry out which determine whether or not an SIA licence is required.
Pete Easterbrook, the SIA’s Criminal Investigations Manager, said:
“Buyers of security have a right, and an expectation, that the staff they are supplied with hold a valid SIA licence.
In this case, IG Security Services supplied Karl Morrison, a man with no SIA licence and a significant criminal history, into a position of trust and responsibility. In doing so, I have no doubt that the public was placed at risk, and I am pleased that the seriousness of this matter has been recognised by the court this week.
Both Karl Morrison and Michael Ryan displayed a deliberate disregard for the UK’s stringent licensing regime and have rightly been called to face the consequences of their actions in court.”
He added: “The message is clear that those who supply unlicensed security operatives are not welcome in this industry. Those choosing to do so can expect to be dealt with robustly, and will likely end up with a criminal conviction and the revocation of any SIA licence held.”