Freelance journalist

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Ron Alalouff is a journalist specialising in the fire and security markets, and a former editor of websites and magazines in the same fields.
July 14, 2021

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Reminder on the need for rigorous security personnel hiring practices and door supervisor guidance as lockdown measures ease

As the economy comes back to life with the relaxation of Covid restrictions, security staff and their employers are warned about a surge in fake IDs, the importance of a rigorous hiring process and SIA guidance for door supervisors. Ron Alalouff reports. 

The security industry needs to be aware of the potential rise in false identity documents being circulated by EU workers following the expiration of the deadline for them to apply for settled status, ID verification firm SmartSearch has warned.

Although, according to SmartSearch, the security sector has seen a drop in the number of workers from the EU in recent years, there are still some 15,000 SIA licences belonging to EU nationals. As such, the sector needs to be aware of the potential rise in false documents being circulated by people without settled status.

John Dobson, CEO at SmartSearch, said that organised crime gangs will exploit opportunities to provide sophisticated false ID documents such as passports and driving licences, and that employers need to have a quick and secure method of verifying the identity of new employees.

“The Government may well be hoping that EU citizens who fail to achieve settled status will be on the next plane or ferry home, but that is just not going to be the case. And I would question [whether] there is the resource to follow up on every failed application.

“What we are likely to see is a surge in false ID documents being circulated, and organised crime taking full advantage of the situation.”

Apart from regulated businesses such as financial services and the legal sector, many firms still rely on manually checking passports and driving licences to confirm identity, said Dobson, which is going to leave them open to fraud as fake documents are now so sophisticated. “It’s more vital now than ever that businesses ditch outdated ID checks with hard documents, and switch to an online digital solution that can provide a full report on an individual’s ID within a few seconds.

“The technology is available today to search global databases instantly, with no need for hard copy documents; just a name, address and a date of birth.

“Not only is it far more accurate and secure to conduct a smart search, but much quicker too, as you don’t have to wait for documents through the post, and it’s safer as it can be done remotely.”

Robust hiring and training processes

Related to identity documentation is the issue of hiring procedures. Following reports that women staying in Covid quarantine hotels have been harassed by security guards, Shahzad Ali, CEO of security training, recruitment and vetting company, Get Licensed, highlighted the importance of robust hiring processes.

“Security guards are employed to protect the public and ensure the safety of the establishment they are employed by. It is shocking that these victims have been made to feel so vulnerable, and in situations like these we must stress the importance of employing SIA-approved and accredited security guards.

“If outsourcers hire staff who are not following the correct practices, they are to be held accountable for the actions of the people they employ, alongside the perpetrators themselves. The hiring process must be rigorous in this line of work, to ensure the safety of members of the public [and] to protect them from internal and external threats alike.”

Meanwhile, the Security Industry Authority has reiterated its guidance for door supervisors, highlighting safer physical intervention and restraint techniques and helping vulnerable people.

“As lockdown measures are relaxed, we recognise that some door supervisors will be returning to work at licensed premises having not worked in that environment for a while,” said the SIA. “There may also be some who are new to the role.

“We are supporting door supervisors by sharing guidance we have produced on good practice that reflects the training they have received. This will help them to continue to protect the public and keep themselves safe.”

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