On Thursday 22 June 2023, a Birkenhead company director and his company were sentenced at Liverpool Magistrates' Court
Christopher Smith, sole director of Prenton-based Storm Secure Ltd was sentenced to a conditional discharge for a period of 12 months and ordered to pay £1,200 prosecution costs and a victim surcharge of £22. The company was handed an absolute discharge. The sentencing followed the prosecutions on 11 May when Mr Smith entered guilty pleas for the supply of an unlicensed door supervisor to a Birkenhead bar and restaurant in November 2021.
The Security Industry Authority (SIA) brought the prosecutions following a joint enforcement initiative with Merseyside Police and Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council licence enforcement officers. Together they carried out inspections in Birkenhead in November 2021 having received information that several bars and pubs were using illegal security.
The team inspected a beach bar and restaurant and requested the venue’s signing-in register, which provided details of those people working there in a security role. They also obtained a letter from the venue stating that a recently formed company, Storm Secure Ltd, was its security supplier.
Analysis of the signing-in register revealed false licence numbers had been recorded for an unlicensed man who worked for two days in November 2021. SIA investigators consequently interviewed Mr Smith under caution on 01 April 2022. During the interview he confirmed that he had deployed the unknown man without the appropriate checks.
Mr Smith told SIA investigators that he was using another person, whom he trusted, to find suitably licensed people. SIA attempts to interview this unlicensed security operative were unsuccessful.
Mark Chapman, one of the SIA’s criminal investigations managers, said of the prosecution:
Christopher Smith has been sentenced and now has a criminal record. The SIA licensing regime exists to protect the public. By deploying illegal security into the Birkenhead night-time economy, he let down his client and the patrons of the venue, including on Bonfire Night, one of the busiest nights of the year. We are grateful to our enforcement partners Wirral Borough Council and Merseyside Police for their assistance in helping us to identify the licence offending.
Notes to Editors
By law, security operatives working under contract must hold and display a valid SIA licence
Read about SIA enforcement and penalties
The offences relating to the Private Security Industry Act 2001 that are mentioned above are:
Section 5 – deploying unlicensed guards
Section 5 by way of section 23 – consent, connivance or neglect of directors for employing unlicensed guards
A conditional discharge is where a person could still get a sentence if they break the conditions
An absolute discharge is a criminal conviction and is regarded as a spent conviction with no sentence (fine, imprisonment, other penalty) and no conditions
The Security Industry Authority is the organisation responsible for regulating the private security industry in the United Kingdom, reporting to the Home Secretary under the terms of the Private Security Industry Act 2001. The SIA’s main duties are the compulsory licensing of individuals undertaking designated activities and managing the voluntary Approved Contractor Scheme.
For further information about the Security Industry Authority or to sign up for email updates visit: www.gov.uk/sia. The SIA is also on LinkedIn Facebook (Security Industry Authority) and Twitter (@SIAuk).