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Security at “max capacity” after 40% drop in licence renewals

Britain is facing the prospect of a shortage of qualified event security staff following a sharp drop in the number of Security Industry Authority (SIA) licences being reissued.

Licence renewals have fallen almost 40% since 2013, according to a report published by the United Kingdom Crowd Management Association (UKCMA) – a situation which, if allowed to continue, could have a “dramatic” effect on safety at venues and large events in the UK.

“Given the ongoing heightened security threat levels, the traditional government security services are heavily supplemented by private providers,” reads the report, which follows a February 2017 survey by the University of Derby, backed by UKCMA and the Football Safety Officers Association (FSOA) that sought to explain the “diminishing numbers” of stewards in the UK. “[T]he impact of diminishing numbers of trained security personnel could be dramatic.”

The six key reasons cited for the difficulty in retaining security workers are poor rates of pay; irregular work patterns; the casual nature of the workforce; competition; the cost of qualifications; and the availability of qualified staff. The report suggests the event security sector “seems to be struggling with financial viability, which is impacting on pay and training budgets”.

This lack of qualified stewards is corroborated by UKCMA’s membership, who told the association that, “especially over the busy summer period” many security providers have been working at “maximum capacity”.

“The government needs to collaborate with industry authorities on an action plan to address the deficiencies in skills and numbers of security personnel”

Showsec managing director Mark Harding, who is also chairman of UKCMA, says it’s “encouraging that the industry has recognised there is a problem, as this acquisition of evidence is all in the interest of public safety. The next stage is to engage stakeholders to find solutions.”

Solutions suggested by UKCMA include diverting money from the apprenticeship levy, which it says is “unsuitable for supporting the night-time economy”, to training more security staff; creating new, more flexible, qualifications as an alternative to the standard NVQ; and ensuring the private security sector has the “necessary resources” to meet the increase in demand following a string of terrorist attacks.

“The government needs to collaborate with industry authorities on an action plan to address the deficiencies in skills and numbers of security personnel,” continues Harding. “The private industry must have the capability and capacity to meet not only ongoing business, but [also] any upsurge in demand caused by one-off incidents.”

A panel at the upcoming Event Safety & Security Summit (E3S), The 3 Rs: Reaction, Response & Recovery, questions whether there is a shortage of trained security personnel and resources. E3S takes place at the Intercontinental Hotel at The O2 in London on 10 October.

Conference agenda for first E3S announced

 


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Security co. ‘sending stewards with fake badges’ to UK fests

A Welsh event security firm is under investigation by the Security Industry Authority (SIA) for allegedly supplying unlicensed stewards to several British music festivals.

Lee Szuchnik, of Barry-based LS Armour Security, has advertised for security staff for several festivals this summer, including Glastonbury Festival, Shindig Weekender in Bruton, Somerset, and Mutiny Festival in Portsmouth. The company has also been recruiting for stewards for Liverpool International Music Festival and Lewes Live Festival later this month.

(LS also put out an ad for stewards to join “team of 48” for last weekend’s Citadel, in Victoria Park, east London, although a spokesperson for promoter Mama has clarified the company was not involved in the festival.)

In a letter sent to festival promoters, security companies and industry associations, SIA deputy director Ed Bateman reveals the company been accused of using fraudulent badges at a number of UK festivals.

“The SIA is investigating event security provider LS Armour Security Ltd of Barry, South Wales, following allegations that the company supplied unlicensed operatives using fraudulent (cloned) SIA badges at festivals in the United Kingdom,” says Bateman. “The badges displayed a genuine name and licence number but a photograph of the unlicensed bearer.

“We are aware that LS Armour Security Ltd have contracted to supply SIA licensed staff and stewards to events and festivals throughout July and August, mostly as a subcontractor or labour provider. We understand that LS Armour Security Ltd have been deploying correctly licensed staff alongside the cloned badges, so events or festival organisers should not necessarily assume that an existing contract with the south Wales company will fail to deliver licensed staff.

“We understand that LS Armour Security Ltd have been deploying correctly licensed staff alongside the cloned badges”

“The SIA will be contacting organisers of events and festivals known to be using LS Armour Security Ltd and will work with them and to ensure that operatives are correctly licensed.”

Any event which has hired, or security company which has contracted, LS-supplied staff is being advised to check the register of SIA licence-holders at services.sia.homeoffice.gov.uk/rolh.

“The SIA understand that at this time of year event organisers and primary contractors may struggle to recruit sufficient SIA licensed staff and frequently have to resort to extensive subcontracting,” continues Bateman. :This provides opportunity to rogue providers that, with appropriate checks by organisers and primary contractors, can be largely mitigated.

“If SIA licensed staff arrive on site and are unknown to you, you must take all reasonable steps to ensure the person named on and in possession of the licence are the same person by requiring them to provide further evidence of identity. This will mitigate the risk of the cloned licence.”

LS Armour Security was founded by Szuchnik (the “LS”) and Peter Valaitis, the latter of which has several active appointments as director of a property company, a Bristol ‘forest school’ and an IT consultancy, according to Companies House. As of 14 June, it has one director, Erica Lloyd.

 


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Sia promoter hits back at lawsuit claims

The promoter of Sia’s Tel Aviv show has hit back at claims fans were left disappointed with the gig after news surfaced of concert-goers filing a class-action lawsuit asking for refunds.

On Monday, The Jerusalem Post reported that a number of those who attended Sia’s August 11 concert in Yarkon Park had sued Sia and promoter Tandi Productions.

The suit reportedly called for up to NIS 8 Million (£1.6m) to be paid to all of the concert’s ticket holders.

However, Ilan Elkayam of Tandi Productions told IQ he’s yet to receive the official claim from the plaintiffs, but plans to review the arguments and respond in court when he does.

“We wish to emphasise that the performance was extremely successful and we have received hundreds of comments from satisfied fans who thoroughly enjoyed the production.”

“We wish to emphasise that the performance was extremely successful and we have received hundreds of comments from satisfied fans who thoroughly enjoyed the performance and the production,” he says.

“In addition, it should be noted, that to the best of our knowledge, the claim was not submitted against Sia herself.”

Fans are reportedly complaining over the length of the concert, which was 65 minutes, as well as the prerecorded video shown on screens during the show – which appeared instead of Sia’s live set.

“Impersonal live vocals” and a “lacklustre show” from Sia were also reasons cited as motivation for the lawsuit.

The show in Yarkon Park was part of a number of live dates Sia played after the release of her seventh album, This is Acting, in January.

Next on her agenda is the Zutopia Music Festival in Romania on August 17th, Poland’s Krakow Live on August 19th and V Festival in Chelmsford and Shifnal on August 20/21.

After playing All Access in Cleveland on September 10th and iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas on September 23rd, Sia will start her Live Nation-backed 20-date North American Nostalgic for the Present Tour on September 29th in Seattle, ending in Austin on November 6th.

 


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