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Director fined

An unlicensed director must pay £1,550 after he pleaded guilty to a string of security offences following an investigation into his business. Gary Armstrong, 36, ran Middlesbrough-based Romaguard Security (UK), supplying security services to sites in the Newcastle upon Tyne area despite not holding the SIA licence required to work legally. A Security Industry Authority (SIA) investigation found that Armstrong was deploying an unlicensed security guard, and had worked as a keyholder himself, without holding any SIA licence.

When asked about his involvement in the security industry by SIA investigators, Armstrong falsely claimed that his company was no longer operating, and failed to supply requested documents and information about the companies to which he supplied security. Armstrong falsely claimed in an email to a client that he held a non-frontline SIA licence, even though his applications for a licence had been rejected, Newcastle Magistrates’ Court heard.

Armstrong, who represented himself, said that he was “fully aware” that both he and the security guard he deployed needed a licence, and that he had “told a couple of white lies to cover his back.”

He pleaded guilty to three counts of working as a security operative without an SIA licence, as well as deploying an unlicensed security guard, failing to provide information and making false statements to the SIA. He was fined £800 for the six offences and ordered to pay £750 in costs.

Nathan Salmon, head of the SIA’s formal investigation team, said after the February 14 court case: “Armstrong deliberately flouted the law and lied to the SIA. He told SIA investigators that he had closed the business yet continued to trade on a reduced scale. Despite this, we were able to identify his clients and therefore his continued offending.

“I am pleased with the results of this case, which I hope sends a clear message to anyone running a security business that breaking the law will not be tolerated. We encourage security buyers to check our Register of Licence Holders on the SIA website to ensure the security operatives deployed to their premises are SIA-licensed.”

Notes

Armstrong was convicted of three counts of engaging in licensable conduct without a licence (£100 each count), one count of employing an unlicensed person in licensable conduct (£200 fine), one count of providing false information to the SIA (£200) and one count of failing to providing information to the SIA (£100). Total fine £800. He was also ordered to pay £750 in costs. Armstrong applied for an SIA licence on several occasions but failed to provide all of the necessary information in order for his application to be processed.

By law, security operatives working under contract and all door supervisors must hold and display a valid SIA licence. A non-front line licence is required for those who manage, supervise and/or employ individuals who engage in licensable activity, as long as front line activity is not carried out; this includes directors and partners. Information about SIA enforcement and penalties can be found on the website: www.sia.homeoffice.gov.uk/enforcement. The register of licence holders can be accessed here.


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