Last-minute call for postponement of SIA scheme

Related tags License Law Prison Sia

There are new calls this week for an eleventh-hour postponement of the doorstaff registration scheme, with the body in charge facing legal action...

There are new calls this week for an eleventh-hour postponement of the doorstaff registration scheme, with the body in charge facing legal action over its handling of the licence.

The Security Industry Authority (SIA) and the police are vowing to go ahead and prosecute unlicensed doorstaff when the law is introduced in England and Wales on April 11 - despite the fact that as many as eight out of 10 door workers are still unlicensed.

Pubs with doorstaff could be forced to close after April 11, with licensees facing fines or prison sentences if they are found using unlicensed doorstaff.

In a new twist this week, the SIA is set to be challenged in the High Court by door workers union FEDS over its stringent criteria for awarding the licence.

FEDS chief executive Andy Walker claims door workers have been deterred from applying for licences by over-stringent selection criteria.

The action is being brought on behalf of a Hampshire door worker who was refused a licence following a police caution.

"The claimant's case is being brought to challenge the SIA's application and vetting criteria, so that decent men and women are able to continue to work within the private security industry," said Mr Walker.

The SIA said it was unable to comment on the court action, but added that anyone could appeal a decision by the SIA to refuse a licence.

Calls for the Home Office to postpone the law have been reinforced by the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group, after it hosted a stormy meeting with the licensed trade and the SIA.

Chairman John Grogan wrote to the Home Office last week, asking for a delay to the scheme.

Two weeks ago a similar letter was sent to the Home Office by the British Beer & Pub Association, the BII and the Bar Entertainment & Dance Association.

A spokeswoman for the Home Office said: "Pubs have been aware that their staff will need licences for some time."

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