SNP MSP for Glasgow, Sandra White has written to Scotland’s Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill asking him to consider developing a Scottish solution to the regulation of the private security industry.
Ms White, who has long campaigned for better regulation of the security industry, believes that regulation that meets Scotland’s specific needs is essential in order to prevent the sector becoming a target for organised crime.
The Westminster Government recently indicated that the Security Industry Authority (SIA), established in 2003 to administer licences, may be scrapped after the 2012 Olympics. The SIA issued licenses costing £400 to £2400 depending on size of the business and charged a nominal £17 annual registration fee for each employee.
Ms White recently met with representatives from the licensed trade in Scotland, who believe that the London based SIA is not listening properly to Scottish concerns. They argue that many simple, sensible steps are not being taken such as mandatory accreditation and more focussed training including mandatory first aid training.
Ms White commented:
“Over the festive period hundreds of thousands of Scots have been going out to pubs and clubs, and when they walk past the doormen it will not even cross their minds what kind of training or accreditation they may have undergone but they are responsible for much of our safety when we are out at night.
“Proper regulation of the private security industry is absolutely essential. It is an all-too tempting target for organised criminals, which is why the Tory plans to change or abolish the Security Industry Authority which has helped to drive up standards and drive out crooks are absolutely daft.”
The Glasgow MSP claimed that Scotland would benefit from opting out of Tory plans and highlighted first aid training as an area that could be improved. Ms White also called for legislation currently limited to the public sector to be extended to cover the private sector.
“Scotland does not have to suffer from the Tories plans. The Home Office have indicated that we could go it alone with regulation of the industry if we wanted. Having met the industry they prefer a pan UK scheme but want more autonomy and more recognition of Scottish concerns.
“Any late night licensee will tell you that their stewards spend more time dealing with first aid rather than breaking up fights – yet most have no first aid training. Having thousands of extra people trained in first aid working in Scotland’s night time economy would undoubtedly have significant benefits. First aid training should be mandatory.
“Similarly while SIA accreditation is now mandatory for anyone providing security to Scotland’s public sector this is not the case for the private sector. We must look to make this a legal requirement for anyone hiring security or stewarding services.
“It is time the SIA took full recognition of the needs of Scottish industry, and if the UK is determined to do nothing or to shut the accreditation system down then I hope the Justice Secretary will, just as he is currently doing with the taxi industry, look to establish a Scottish system of accreditation that keeps our night-time economy safe, secure and free from crooks.”