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GMB Calls For Crackdown On Security Firms Using Unlicenced Staff

GMB is concerned that there have been no prosecutions since the new licensing regime came into force on 20th March 2006, and that a number of contractors are still operating without being approved or their employees licensed. With only 227 contractors approved GMB believe there are still many companies, including a number of significant players within the industry that are operating without approval. In addition the union believes that there are tens of thousands of security guards operating illegally without licenses. The union argues that the failure to enforce the licensing legislation is undermining employers who have invested heavily to meet the licensing requirements as well as general standards.

GMB has written to the Home Office Minister, Tony McNulty demanding action to enforce standards in the private security industry. Earlier this year the Government introduced an approved contractor and licensing system. Individual security guards by law now need to be licensed. The licensing system was designed to raise standards in the industry and eliminate the "cowboy element".

GMB pressed for the licensing of the security industry for many years. Licensing is being introduced is to drive criminality out of the industry and to improve standards. It is an industry notorious for low pay, long hours and poor working conditions, and it resisted regulation for many years (see note 5 for the numbers in each area).

Gary Smith GMB National Officer said "The regulations must now be enforced if we are to raise standards in the industry. The reputation of the industry has for years been blighted by public perception that there are cowboy and criminal elements operating in the security industry. The private security industry also plays a crucial role in public safety and at a time of heightened terrorist threat the government should do its utmost to push up standards.

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