Fears over legislation void ‘risks threat of terrorism’

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

(credit: Getty/somboon kaeoboonsong)
(credit: Getty/somboon kaeoboonsong)

Related tags Legislation Social responsibility Government NTIA Health and safety

A refusal by the Government to implement legislation for security businesses is putting the sector at risk from terrorist threats, according to the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) and the UK Door Security Association (UKDSA).

The trade body said private security companies that are avoiding paying tax and not offering training need to be brought under regulations. This is because the Home Office’s refusal to pursue the implementation of business licensing within the private security sector will weaken the ability for front-line security to protect the public from potential terrorist threats, and will compromise the implementation of Martyns Law in the future (Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill).

The NTIA and UKDSA have expressed huge concern over its ability to protect the public, with an estimated 4,000 front-line security resource supply companies working within the hospitality and night-time economy that are untraceable by the regulator and key Government departments.

Questions have to be raised

Analysis of the current ‘Approved Contractor Scheme’, which has a limited number of door security suppliers within it, with an estimated 800 voluntary members, which are largely self-assessed, suggests questions have to be raised with regard to the ability for the regulator to control this part of the sector under the current regime.

The NTIA said the current system has created a disparity in taxation, where ACS-accredited company participants must employ all their operatives via PAYE, whereas non-accredited businesses, which are not registered and not tracked by the regulator are contracting operatives via UTR self-employed schemes to maximise financial position and be more price-competitive.

It added some of these businesses are subject to tax avoidance, devoid of training and standards, and are not subject to the appropriate level of internal vetting, with many allowing access for uninsured operatives and are known within the sector for poaching staff directly from competitors on cash based terms.

Scrutiny of Martyns Law

With Martyns Law currently under scrutiny, there is a concern that front-line security for thousands of businesses across the country, with public access but without mandatory business licensing, will not have the appropriate standards of vetting, insurance and basic training required to keep people safe within public spaces.

NTIA CEO Michael Kill said: “Following the recommendations from the Manchester Arena inquiry, the refusal by the Home Office to implement a business licensing scheme for all private security businesses is a considerable oversight.

“The Home Secretary and security minister have little or no grasp of the issues faced by the sector, particularly one that is on the verge of implementing a new duty to protect premises accessed by the public from a potential terror threat. 

“It is glaringly obvious a limitation in control of companies, which supply security resource and don’t follow a strict vetting procedure, will leave a considerable void in the overarching counter terror strategy for businesses on the ground.”

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