Hundreds face prosecution as SIA ends 'discretion period'

Related tags Sia South east Sia licence License

Licensees could find their new premises licence at risk if they fail to ensure they have Security Industry Authority (SIA) registered doorstaff. The...

Licensees could find their new premises licence at risk if they fail to ensure they have Security Industry Authority (SIA) registered doorstaff. The SIA says that police and some local authorities regulating the new Licensing Act are starting to look at taking action against licensees. The warning comes as 400 door supervisors face prosecution for operating without an SIA licence.

The SIA says it is particularly concerned about the number of door supervisors failing to register in the South East.

It says it expects the region to need 10,500 door supervisors and has received requests for 10,600 application forms - but only 6,400 have applied. Sue Sheath, who has been heading investigations in the South East for the SIA, has accused some licensees of "dragging their feet" and claims that the organisation is considering action against pubs and clubs which allow unlicensed doorstaff to operate on their premises.

In the South East alone 800 warning letters have already been issued and 30 prosecutions are under way.

Ms Sheath told The Publican: "We have visited 200 licensed premises to make sure awareness is high among licensees.

"We are working with the police and local authorities and while there has been some discretion that has finished now.

"Police are considering objecting to licences on the basis of this. When doorstaff come to work they must wear their badge. Licensees must look at contracts they have with their suppliers."

Licensees need to start questioning doorstaff who claim they are still waiting for their SIA licence to come through, Ms Sheath added. "It's important that venues and doorstaff know there is no escape," she said.

Door workers in the South East have been required to hold an SIA licence since February 28. It has been illegal for doorstaff to work anywhere in England and Wales without a licence since April 11.

And in Scotland...

The Scottish pub trade is pleading with the SIA to ensure there is no repeat of the delays surrounding the scheme when it is introduced in Scotland.

Doorstaff north of the border will have to register with the SIA from mid-to-late 2006.

Patrick Browne, chief executive of the Scottish Beer & Pub Association, said: "With the reform of liquor licensing and the smoking ban the last thing the trade needs is another initiative that is going to make things even more complicated for licensees."

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