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Door Forum Blasts Fee Rise

by msecadm4921

Pub and club door staff are outraged at Government’s latest increase in licence fees, claim members of the “Working The Doors” Lobby Group.

It describes itself as the UK’s largest website forum for pub and club security staff, and claims more than 2,000 registered forum members. They are, the forum says, totally opposed to the increased cost of obtaining an Security Industry Authority (SIA) licence.

Because of the SIA’s original miscalculations, mismanagement and lack of enforcement, however, the body finds itself in debt and unable to support itself, the forum says. As the direct result of these failings, and to appease the Government, the SIA now wishes to raise the application fee for licences to from £190 to £245 every three years, an increase of an incredible 29pc! – the forum says.

Percentages

Its statement goes on: "Taking into account that the actual rise in the cost of living is 4.6pc to 5.8pc, the annual rate of wage increase is 3.9pc. and although the official rate of inflation is 2.4pc and the true figure is 5.2pc, we ask how can the government justify a fee increase of 29%? – other than to make up for their own failings, that is.

The SIA (Security Industry Authority) has said "an increase in the licence application fee is necessary because SIA income from licensing has been less than expected. The shortfall stems from unreliable and unavailable data gathered in 2002/03, before the start of licensing, and from changes taking place across various industry sectors".

The forum says: "It was originally estimated by the SIA that approximately 100,000 door supervisors would need licences (a figure we still agree with), although only 67,725 have been issued to date. The main reasons for this lack of compliance (about 32,000 doormen still working without a licence) with the law have been:

the expense of the licence

the time and processes involved with getting one

the strict (some would say overly-strict) vetting criteria

the lack of enforcement by the SIA for those that don’t comply.

The forum statement says: "The leisure security industry has already lost many good members of staff due to this bureaucratic and expensive licensing system, making it more and more difficult for pubs, clubs and leisure security companies to find sufficient, good, licensed people to man the thousands of places that require security in the night time economy. With these new price increases, particularly with Scotland and Northern Ireland soon joining the system, how many more valued door supervisors will we lose because they simply cannot afford or will not pay an increase of 29pc? You have to remember that for many doormen, this is a second or third job! Do we really want to go back to the days of having untrained criminal thugs working the doors of our pubs and clubs?"

"Furthermore, how will the police cope with this shortfall in door staff? Door supervisors are already being employed to maintain law and order in places other than drinking establishments. They are now used to ‘help police’ taxi ranks, late-night eating houses and even the streets where the pubs and clubs are. Will the police be able to provide the extra numbers where these shortfalls will occur?

"The police, fire brigade, police community support officers, street/crime wardens, social services, child minders and teachers all have to undergo a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check to be able to work, and some are even issued with badges and/or licences. How many of these are forced to pay an extortionate amount in order to be allowed to continue to work? Why are door supervisors and people in other related jobs being asked to pay such a ridiculously high amount when a CRB check costs only £10?

"The leisure security sector was told that with the intervention of the SIA hourly wages would increase, working conditions would improve and that doormen would be seen as a part of the "wider police family". Has this happened? No. Wages have not increased, working conditions are worse and the risk to the doormen and their patrons has increased due to not enough staff being available.

"The security industry was also told "that all sections of the security industry would be required to apply for a licence". Why is it then that the SIA and the Home Office has now decided to backtrack and exemplify in-house security officers, security staff at football grounds, rugby grounds and other sporting arenas from the licensing system? Had these sections been included in the licensing regime, then perhaps the SIA would have been able to finance itself by now, and we would not be facing these massive hikes in what many consider to be a stealth tax on the security industry.

"The "Working the Doors" Lobby Group demands that the Home Secretary and the Chief Executive of the Security Industry Authority reconsider this issue immediately, before the private security industry suffers further, and the risks to members of the public start to become more obvious.

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