Blears is blasted by security firms

Related tags Sia License

by John Harrington Security companies that have experienced major delays in receiving their new Security Industry Authority (SIA) licences have...

by John Harrington

Security companies that have experienced major delays in receiving their new Security Industry Authority (SIA) licences have blasted claims by the SIA and Home Office minister Hazel Blears that doorstaff are to blame for the problems.

Michael Kheng, director of Lincolnshire-based Kurnia Licensing Consultants, which is handling licensing for 20 door supervisors, said only six of them were sent their licences in time for the 3 January deadline for his region. This is despite all the applications being submitted by him at least two months before the deadline.

West Sussex-based Security Corps Brighton experienced similar problems, with just one out of the firm's 70 doorstaff being sent a licence in time for the region's 28 February deadline. The company said it applied for all licences at the earliest opportunity.

Kheng pointed to examples of needless delays, caused by the SIA, which contributed to the backlog. However, all of these have been strongly denied by the SIA (see box, left).

Kheng said he also encountered problems when he tried to contact the SIA.

"The SIA would not talk to me as agent, for security and data protection reasons. Nor would the SIA reply to any of my communications," he said.

"One of my applicants has tried to contact the SIA well over a dozen times now without success."

Last month Blears backed the SIA's claim that delays were largely due to door supervisors filling out their forms incorrectly.

Kheng added: "I agree some forms must have been submitted wrongly, but come on SIA ­ take some of the blame and admit when you are wrong."

SIA spokesman Robert Buxton said: "There is no general delay in the processing of applications. The delays we've had are in people returning invalid applications."

Claims ­ and counter claims

from Kurnia Licensing Consultants

l In one case, the application was sent back because the SIA couldn't trace the doorman'sStage II British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) certificate. But a photocopy of the certificate was included in the pack ­ and somebody from the SIA had even attended the same BII course as the doorman.

The SIA said qualifications by awarding bodies such as the BII are cross-referenced against a photo and name on a central database.

l One application was sent back because a tick, rather than a cross, was used to indicate method of payment, Kheng said.

The SIA dismissed this as "rubbish".

l One form was rejected four months after being submitted, because when it was being processed ­ in January ­ the company credit card had been stolen. Kheng said this problem would not have arisen if the application was dealt with earlier.

But the SIA said payment is taken as soon as an application is submitted.

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