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Doormen welcome licensing changes

PUBLISHED: 21:42 04 April 2003 | UPDATED: 13:42 03 March 2010

SECURITY firms in Suffolk have welcomed long-awaited plans to change the licensing system surrounding the security industry.

Under new regulations there were fears that up to 40 per cent of doormen in pubs and clubs will be forced out of their jobs under a new system which came into force this week.

SECURITY firms in Suffolk have welcomed long-awaited plans to change the licensing system surrounding the security industry.

Under new regulations there were fears that up to 40 per cent of doormen in pubs and clubs will be forced out of their jobs under a new system which came into force this week.

The changes will now mean that to obtain a compulsory new licence, workers in the private security industry will have to prove they have had no involvement in crime for up to five years.

Abbey Security in Ipswich said the changes were welcomes by them.

"To be honest it will make our life a lot easier," said a spokesman. "We have such a hard time vetting potential employees and this will be very helpful to us."

Kerpal Baines operational manager of Kartouche nightclub in the town said there should be discretion when it comes to this process.

"It will not really be any different for me and my organisation but I believe there should be discretion as there are different levels of criminality.

"I would look very differently on someone who had a speeding ticket compared to someone found guilty of road rage.

"We just have to be sensible about this."

But SIA chairwoman Molly Meacher said it was possible for those who committed serious crimes more than five years ago to be granted a licence at the SIA's discretion.

"We have not yet written the guidance to our staff about how they deal with someone who enters our discretionary field," she said.

"People have to understand the limitations placed on agencies by the Human Rights Act.

"There are downsides to people having rights - although those rights are very important.

"We can't afford to lose a human rights challenge on the basis that we have not allowed people to have a fair trial (for a licence).'

Chief executive John Saunders said the possession of an SIA licence would never be a "guarantee of absolute purity".

He estimated that between 30 per cent and 40 per cent of door supervisors will not be able to win a licence and that the private security industry as a whole is expected to lose one in five of its 350,000 workers.

"The implications are very significant for the industry," he said.

"It is going to have 20 per cent of its workforce removed over a period of time."

Pilot schemes are due to be launched for the 100,000 bouncers in England and Wales and the 2,000 wheel clampers who operate on private land later this year.

Licensing will begin to roll out nationally next summer and should be complete by early 2005 and licensing of security guards begins in 2005.


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