Australia: Security Industry Gets Tough on Its Guards

By Matthew Harwood

The security industry in New South Wales, Australia, has gotten tough with its security guards, revoking the licenses of more than 150 guards and refusing licenses to another 65 applicants, according to Australian media reports.

The moves come after the security industry released new regulations governing security guards last September, reports The Sydney Morning Herald.

The security industry - twice the size of the police force in NSW - has been plagued by criminal infiltration, prompting the Australian Crime Commission to begin an investigation last year.

In September the ban on people with certain types of criminal records from working in the industry was extended to those with convictions for a wider range of offences, such as terrorism, affray or stalking and intimidation.

The industry's new security advisory council will also consider compulsory drug and alcohol testing to weed out the undesireables.

Some of the 200 people who either had their licenses revoked or refused had ties to "bikie gangs" or outlaw biker outfits like the Hells Angels. Other offenses that resulted in revocation or refusal of a license included possession of child pornography as well as lying on one's application.

Police Minister David Campbell said, "High standards have been set in the industry to keep the bad eggs out."

The new regulations, however,  have made it harder for security contractors to find enough staff to cover all their contracts. "I think people are able to fill most positions for the major contracts but it's maybe some off the fringe contracts are struggling," Bryan de Caires, head of the Australian Security Industry Association, told the Herald.


Not all as it seems

The measures put in place by the NSW Security Registry while seemingly of good intentions leave many things to be desired.
I agree whole heartedly with keeping criminals out of the industry, however the registry also seems to make rules that don't sit within the National framework.
For example, a person from another state that has qualifications as set through national guidelines is not recognised in NSW unless that person undergoes further training in NSW by a NSW licensed instructor. This set of criteria is outside the scope of the national framework of accepted training & competencies.
The vast number of people being restricted from the industry is not as the article indicated, due to criminal antecedents, it is due to the state based registry refusing to acknowledge competencies acquired outside of the state of NSW.
Whether these qualifications are sought via a training college or university domestically or internationally is sadly not a consideration for the impertinent staff of the Security Registry of NSW.
Nor can a decision by the registry be appealed as the files are restricted to a level of SECRET under state legislation, preventing access by a plaintiff in an appellate case.

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