Pub and club bosses are urged to voice concerns
PLYMOUTH'S clubs and pubs have been urged to take part in a consultation on Government plans to licence all security firms.
The Home Office has published a consultation document which would shake up the enormous door staff market and possibly see the Security Industry Authority (SIA) moved into the private sector with potential cost implications for bars.
SIA investigator Derek Stubbington outlined the plans to more than 20 bar bosses at a meeting of Plymouth Licensing Forum.
The Home Office is proposing private security companies regulate their own staff – effectively carrying out security checks on them.
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This will leave the regulator to deal with companies or employees that fail to meet standards with penalties that could include banning a company or even criminal prosecution.
The Government says this will reduce the cost to the industry but there has been speculation businesses providing security staff will end up paying more and possibly pass this on to the pub and club trade.
The consultation ends on January 15 and Mr Stubbington urged firms, whether security providers or bars, to take part.
He said that, if the plans go ahead, "We will be licensing companies to provide security provision."
He added: "It will be a criminal offence to supply services unless they are licensed by us."
At the moment it has not been determined whether licensees who employ their own door staff will included.
But Mr Stubbington said: "Any individual must have their own licence, but if you use a company rather than in-house that contract provider will have to prove they are fit and proper to provide that.
"If you've got a bad door company you would not want them out there, we will get a core of good companies providing you with a good service."
He said the change is likely to come into force in 2014 and urged businesses to have their say, revealing that consultations often receive a disappointing response.
"The responses we get are very poor," Mr Stubbington said. "People don't want to put their bit in when they get the opportunity to.
"The proposals have been accepted and the consultation is about what comes out at the end.
"If you feel strongly, speak about it – they do respond to these things."
Plymouth licensing officer Fred Prout said: "I would encourage all premises with door staff to look at (the Home Office website)."
Tam Macpherson, owner of the Clipper Inn, who was at the meeting but spoke to The Herald afterwards, said: "Rather than obsessive tinkering, the trade needs a period of stability and simplicity.
"In my opinion the net result will be yet a further cost burden on small and independent businesses."
Currently, only about 700 firms out of about 4,200 security staff providers are part of the Home Office's Approved Contractor Scheme and registered with the SIA.
There are about 330,000 individual SIA licence holders, who pay £220 on application and the same amount every three years for a licence renewal.
The Home Office said the document Consultation on a Future Regulatory Regime for the Private Security Industry would bring in a phased transition to a business regulation regime and "a significant change" to how individuals are licensed to work within the industry.
A spokesman said: "The changes proposed would achieve a reduction in the regulatory cost and burden on the private security industry as a whole."