A new BBC investigation has alleged that a number of companies which provide event security training are offering rule-breaking short-cuts to people who want to apply for a licence from the UK Security Industry Authority.
In order to apply for an SIA licence, people must complete a six day training course. However, a BBC reporter found, some of the companies that provide that training offered an option to complete the course in three days, or even a day and half. Doing so meant missing some mandatory components of the training. The reporter was also told to fill out a time-sheet declaring that he had completed the full six days.
There is a test at the end of the course. But, with one of the training companies, "the reporter and a roomful of other candidates sat a final exam - but they were not given any questions. Instead, answer sheets to multiple-choice questions were handed out and everyone was told by the trainer what options to circle - A, B, C and so on".
The BBC's 'File On 4' programme says that it was prompted to investigate SIA approved course providers following its report earlier this year about the fatal crowd crush that occurred at the Brixton Academy last December. That report focused on allegations that security at the London venue regularly took bribes to allow people without tickets into shows.
That, the BBC said, resulted in dozens of whistleblowers contacting the broadcaster with other allegations of misconduct in the event security business. That included training companies helping unsuitable and untrained people to apply for SIA licences.
The SIA - created by the UK government in 2001 - declined to be interviewed for the BBC's report, but has issued a statement confirming it is investigating the claims made in the new ‘File Of 4’ programme.
It said: “We have launched an investigation into the findings of the undercover operation conducted by BBC ‘File On 4’. We are working with the qualifications regulator in England - Ofqual - and awarding organisations it regulates to further examine the issues highlighted”.
It added: “The Ofqual-approved awarding organisations have confirmed to the SIA that the training providers featured have been suspended pending further investigation. We have suspended the licence of one individual featured in this documentary and have referred the footage that indicates criminality to the Metropolitan Police Service”.
“Where qualifications that have been awarded by the awarding organisations are shown to be unsound and are withdrawn”, it also confirmed, “it will result in the suspension of a licence”.