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Custodial sentence for man with history of violence who fraudulently gained an SIA license



35 year old Bernard Holmes of Blackburn was sentenced to 12 months in jail, suspended for two years on Tuesday 14th September 2021. He was also ordered to complete 120 hours of unpaid work along with a 30-day rehabilitation requirement.

Holmes pleaded guilty to three counts of fraud after submitting false paperwork to fraudulently secure a license from the Security Industry Authority (SIA) in 2018. Holmes has a significant history of violent offending and knew that this would prohibit him from acquiring the SIA license legitimately. Once Holmes had completed the training and secured his SIA license using his uncle’s identity documents, he fraudulently formed a security company called RR Ryan Response Ltd under the name of an associate whom he had completed the training with. Holmes proceeded to recruit door security staff for various public houses in Accrington.

An anonymous tip-off regarding unlicensed door staff working at pubs in the area led to the attendance of SIA investigators, who were informed that the security staff worked for a Mr Holmes. The investigators could not find any evidence that Holmes held an SIA license, however when they approached the training provider they discovered that the person claiming to be Jason Nicholson on their training programme, was in fact Bernard Holmes. When Jason Nicholson was contacted and interviewed, he confirmed that he was Holmes’ uncle and that he had never trained nor applied for an SIA license, he also had no knowledge that his identity had been used fraudulently for this purpose.

Jen Hart, the SIA’s criminal investigation manager quoted:

“This is a complicated and a devious fraud. This case demonstrates that the SIA will always seek to identify those who are abusing the licensing system designed to protect the public. The severity of the sentence demonstrates that the court thought so too.”

Judge Simon Medland QC spoke of the case:

“It is important that those who are charged with that extremely difficult job of being on the doors of licensed premises, are suitable people for doing so and given the defendant’s antecedents, its hardly surprising that the SIA would have taken the view that he wasn’t.”

The Security Industry Authority is responsible for regulating the private security sector in the UK and reporting to the Home Secretary under the terms of the Private Security Industry Act 2001. If an individual possesses a criminal record, this does not necessarily prohibit them from obtaining an SIA license, as criminal records are assessed on the basis of whether an individual may be a risk to the public or whether they have engaged in dishonest behaviour. The SIA provides a Criminal Record Indicator tool to their applicants so that they can assess whether they will be likely to pass the criminality checks based upon their offences.

A Freedom of Information Request published in September 2021 reported that the total number of active SIA license holders who either declared a criminal conviction during the application process or whilst holding active license to be 2,239 out of a total 384,912 active license holders.

To read the SIA’s press release regarding this case, click here to read the SIA Freedom of Information Request Information, click here.

 
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