The Night Time Industries Association’s (NTIA) chief executive Michael Kill has expressed his disappointment and concern over reports from the BBC claiming some security guards were fraudulently obtaining work licences through sham training courses.
Qualifications allow security guards to safeguard public events such as gigs at arenas, nightclubs and other venues.
An undercover reporter from BBC Radio 4’s File on 4 investigative podcast paid more money to complete a mandatory six-day course in a day and a half, meaning they missed out on crucial first aid training.
According to the BBC, the industry regulator said the evidence could suggest criminality, and that the Security Industry Authority (SIA) said it was now working with the organisations which oversee these training companies to further investigate the BBC material. The SIA added that it would be referring the matter to the police.
File on 4 approached 12 companies offering Level 2 SIA door supervisor courses for between £200 (€231/$242) and £300.
The BBC reported that many advertised the courses with near-100% pass rates, and four of the firms offered the undercover journalist shortened courses – which is against regulations.
Completing the six-day training course enables attendees to apply for an SIA licence, subject to identity and criminal record checks.
“The door security sector has, for a considerable period, raised questions concerning security training, from the point of facilitation, accessibility and content,” said Kill.
“The necessary qualifications for obtaining an SIA License to work within the sector have been overshadowed by a small number of unscrupulous training operators.”
He added: “In light of the compelling evidence presented by the BBC today, I strongly encourage the SIA to reconsider their current process for accrediting training providers. This is a pivotal moment to revamp the system and restore public trust in the sector.”
The BBC reported that the SIA did not want to be interviewed about the investigation, but said it would asses the evidence. The SIA added that where individuals’ qualifications were shown to be unsafe, licences would be suspended, and that it would work with Ofqual (which regulates qualifications, examinations and assessments in England) to ensure allegations were investigated.