On Monday 5 March 2018, Siobhan McDonald, the director of Morsec Holdings Ltd, of Melksham, Wiltshire, pleaded guilty at Salisbury Magistrates’ Court to a range of offences. These included providing false information, failing to provide information, and aiding and abetting Paul McDonald, who separately pleaded guilty to working without a Security Industry Authority (SIA) licence.
The couple incurred fines of £2,390. Siobhan has to pay a fine of £1360.00 while Paul was fined a total of £1030.00.
The pair were prosecuted after their application for the SIA’s Approved Contractor Scheme (ACS) revealed inconsistencies around the structure of several similarly named companies owned by Paul McDonald: Morsec Holdings Ltd, Morsec Ltd and Morsecurity Ltd.
The application by Morsec Holdings Ltd for ACS status was withdrawn in September 2017.
Nathan Salmon, SIA’s Criminal Investigations Manager, said:
“In making an application for ACS accreditation in February 2017, Siobhan McDonald provided false information to the SIA regarding the active role of Paul McDonald within Morsec Holdings Ltd in order to gain approval.”
Mr Salmon went on to say that the purpose of the SIA’s Approved Contractor Scheme is to raise standards and promote good practice to create a safer environment for the public, and better opportunities for the private security industry. Companies who abuse the scheme, or make false statements in an attempt to gain accreditation, undermine those standards.
He said “The SIA will robustly investigate the misuse of the ACS. This conviction highlights the fact that security regulation exists in order to protect the public and ensure the effectiveness of security businesses.”
This investigation began in February 2017, when Siobhan McDonald submitted an application to join the ACS as the named director of Morsec Holdings Ltd. Following an approval visit and a series of inquiries into the business, and several others linked to it, SIA investigators came to the conclusion that Paul McDonald was in fact the person directing the company.
The investigation revealed that Paul McDonald was unlicensed between June and September 2017, despite clearly acting as director of a security company. Siobhan McDonald was asked to provide information to the SIA in connection with the inquiry, but failed to do so despite being given extra time to respond. This is an offence.
Both Siobhan McDonald and Paul McDonald were invited by the SIA to attend a formal interview. Neither attended, and the SIA therefore decided to prosecute them.