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Northern Ireland Security company welcomes SIA regulations

Mercury Security Management : 07 December, 2009  (Company News)
Mercury Security Management sees the introduction of licensing legislation in Northern Ireland as a welcome move to clean up the industry from cowboy operators
Leading NI security expert Frank Cullen welcomed the imminent introduction of new legislation to clean up the security industry in the province.

Come 1 December 2009, all those working in designated sectors of the private security industry in Northern Ireland will need to hold a Security Industry Authority (SIA) licence. The SIA estimates that over 8000 individuals will need to be licensed.

In anticipation of the new legislation coming into effect, Mr Cullen's Mercury Security Management is Northern Ireland's first security company to be awarded the SIA's quality accreditation standard under the ACS (Approved Contractor Scheme). The company is also set to open a multi-million pound upgrade to its facilities in Lisburn.

Private security industry regulations have been in force in GB since the establishment of the SIA in 2003, and after the proposal to extend the remit of the SIA to Northern Ireland was put out for public consultation by the Northern Ireland Office in 2006, the results showed an overwhelming desire within the industry for regulations in line with those in GB.

In practical terms, anyone who wishes to work in the industry will need to have a licence from the SIA, and anyone who wishes to buy in services from the security sector will also be affected.

For example, it will now be legal requirement in Northern Ireland to hold an SIA licence to work in man guarding, key holding with response, and cctv remote monitoring and management.

Frank Cullen, Chief Executive of Mercury Security Management, outlined the benefits that systems of regulation and accreditation would bring to his company, the industry and the general public:

"I second the views of Paul Goggins, Minister of State for Northern Ireland, when he talked about SIA regulation being a positive way ahead for the security industry in Northern Ireland".

"Moreover, ACS accreditation incorporates best practice standards applicable to the private security industry in GB, and learns from other industries to set quality controls to help an organisation manage its processes and to deliver quality to customers. Ultimately, we are confident that the general public will benefit through an industry which is much more committed to improved processes as well as more stringent health checks".

Once all requirements of the ACS have been met by an applicant company, a verification site visit is carried out by a body approved by the SIA. The SIA then organises periodic site visits to ensure that the system continues to work.

John Jones, Centre Manager at The Kennedy Centre, says that NI businesses need to get their act together fast before 1st December: "We know that the SIA have been out and about recently to put the word out around high profile businesses in Belfast city centre. It's important for our business to use SIA licensed and accredited staff, and we know that we're appropriately covered through Mercury Security Management".

Brian Gaffney, Director, Investment Property Management, Colliers Cre, welcomed Mercury's ACS award: "We are delighted to hear that our service partner Mercury Security Management is the first in NI to achieve ACS accreditation. We have been working with Mercury for 5 years, and we've developed close links with a company that delivers exactly what it says it will".

Mercury Security Management is among the province's most progressive security companies, having recently invested in a state of the art complex in Lisburn, including a futuristic new control room, an alarm receiving centre (a.r.c.) and a suite of new training rooms. The new multi million pound upgrade is set to open next month.

Mr Cullen believes that the incoming legislation and rigorous new accreditation scheme heralds the end of the era of the maverick, unregulated cowboy operator: "We are proud to be the first company to achieve the ACS standard ahead of SIA regulations coming into force in Northern Ireland. Increases in both transparency and quality control in this industry can only be a good thing, and will help to force rogue, unregulated traders out of business.

I'd like to thank our employees for the hard work which they put in to our initiative, and our loyal client base for continuing to entrust us with their assets."
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