Last Friday (05 November), Khaled Hamed of Northwest London was handed a six- month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, at Westminster Magistrates’ Court for committing fraud. The Security Industry Authority (SIA), regulator of the private security industry, brought the prosecution.
Hamed originally pleaded guilty to committing three counts of fraud at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 08 October. On Friday, the court ordered him to pay £500 court costs plus a victim surcharge of £115 in addition to his suspended sentence. Hamed is also subject to a three-month curfew between the hours of 7am and 7pm daily and he must wear an electronic tag. Any non-compliance will mean that Hamed will serve a jail sentence. The court heard that this was Hamed’s first offence for fraud, he had convictions for three previous offences, two of which were for violence.
Hamed joined SIA approved contractor Paragon Security Group as a security guard on 01 February 2019. During the company’s selection process Hamed provided a number of items to support his job application. These included a copy of a front-line door supervisor licence in his own name. When Hamed subsequently presented himself for work in Covent Garden the site supervisor realised that the licence was a counterfeit. He refused Hamed permission to enter the site and notified Paragon.
Paragon asked Hamed to attend a formal interview. During the meeting he admitted that he’d paid a friend £200 for the counterfeit licence. Paragon notified the SIA who started an investigation into the case. The licence number was that of a genuine licence, but the image was of Hamed. SIA investigators invited Hamed for an interview, but he refused to engage with them. The SIA therefore decided to prosecute.
Hamed was required to appear in court on 07 February 2021 but failed to do so. As a consequence the court issued a warrant for his arrest. Hamed was subsequently arrested and pleaded guilty to all of the charges.
Mark Chapman, a Criminal Investigations manager at the SIA, said:
Hamed is now a convicted fraudster and has been handed a jail sentence for deliberately using a fake licence. His existing criminal record would have meant that the SIA would not have granted him a licence. Hamed thought he could bypass the proper checks and balances until his deception was spotted by a vigilant site supervisor. The use of counterfeit SIA licences can give unqualified and unsuitable personnel the opportunity to work illegally within the security industry. This puts the public at risk because people doing this are neither suitably vetted nor trained.The SIA encourages all security companies to conduct the proper checks when employing staff. We are working together to identify those individuals who seek to circumvent the licensing regime, which exists to protect the public. I would encourage anyone who encounters a suspected false licence to contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or notify the SIA directly via our web pages.
District Judge Oliver, said:
You pleaded guilty at the first opportunity to three serious offences. You didn’t disclose the fact you had convictions and obtained a licence to work as a security officer. That is a serious matter. People who work in this industry are to be appropriately vetted with appropriate information. You were plainly aware that you were not entitled to work in the industry and attempted to subvert the system and indeed you did so.