Ballymena man prosecuted by SIA for supplying unlicensed security
A Ballymena man had been prosecuted by the UK Security Industry Authority (SIA) in a case which was heard recently at Laganside Magistrates’ Court.
On Tuesday 26 September 2023, Stephen Simmonds pleaded guilty to supplying illegal security to Belfast venues as well as failing to inform the SIA of his change of address.
The court fined Simmonds £700 and ordered him to pay £100 court costs and £135 prosecutions costs. The prosecution was brought by the SIA. This prosecution relates to two recent SIA prosecutions of Alan Agnew and Ryan Wilkinson.
The cases began when the SIA’s investigators and officers from the Police Service of Northern Ireland carried out two planned inspections of venues in Belfast’s night-time economy on 28 September 2022 and 3 October 2022.
During the inspection on 28 September, Alan Agnew was found to be working without a valid SIA licence in a Belfast nightclub. He was wearing a counterfeit licence with his photograph on it. The SIA investigators seized the licence and cautioned Mr Agnew and attempted to interview him.
During the inspection on 3 October 2022, Ryan Wilkinson was found to be working without a valid SIA licence in a Belfast nightclub. When he was asked why he was not wearing a licence he told the investigators that he was a ticket collector.
The common thread between these convictions is that both of the defendants were deployed by Stephen Simmonds who was sole director of Killane Security; a company that does not exist. Stephen Simmonds was in possession of a Door Supervisor licence and the SIA suspended this on 16 March 2023. During the SIA’s criminal investigation into this case, it was established that Mr Simmonds had committed a further offence of failing to inform the SIA of a change of his address.
Mr Simmonds failed to engage with the SIA’s criminal investigation officers and the SIA started prosecution proceedings in his absence.
Jenny Hart, one of the SIA’s criminal investigations managers, said:
"Stephen Simmonds pleaded guilty to supplying illegal security to two Belfast venues. He had no intention of complying with the legislation even though he was a licence holder.
"The SIA’s licensing regime exists to protect the public, yet Simmonds chose to operate illegally by not ensuring that door supervisors he deployed were suitably licensed putting the safety of patrons at risk by his actions.
"Mr Simmonds now has a criminal record. I also wish to thank the Police Service of Northern Ireland for assisting us in uncovering this offending and securing convictions."
By law, security operatives working under contract must hold and display a valid SIA licence
The offences relating to the Private Security Industry Act 2001 that are mentioned above are:
• 2 x section 5 – employing unlicensed persons in licensable conduct
• 1 x section 9 – contravening licence conditions