BANBRIDGE is a safer place to socialise, security experts have said.
A meeting between the SIA (Security Industry Authority) and PSNI has revealed that Banbridge night clubs have a high compliance rate with their licensing and employing certified door staff.
Sharon Roberts, SIA Head of Investigations, said that she was pleased so see the high compliance rates in the district, because Banbridge has such a vibrant night time economy.
The results for the district have also been consistent in the last two years, with Banbridge performing well on 3 random spot checks.
Jacqui Gillespie, Neighbourhood Inspector said: “The last spot check took place in the Banbridge area on 22 October and a number of unannounced visits were made. We have the balance right and there will be more inspections carried out.”
The SIA has been successfully running for two years in Northern Ireland, regulating the private security industry and is a non-departmental body which reports to the Home Office and Department of Justice,
Before the SIA was put in place there were no legal requirements for door staff in Northern Ireland.
It takes a hands on approach to monitoring and enforcing security compliance levels with premises across the country.
Ms Roberts said: “We started regulating in England in 2004, Scotland 2007 and 15 December 2009 in Northern Ireland. We are part of a regional team and deal with compliance levels in Northern Ireland and Scotland.”
The partnership was also discussed between the organisation and PSNI, with Inspector Gillespie stating that they have a good working relationship.
Ms Roberts reinforced this, adding: “We are working really well in partnership with the PSNI and want to highlight regulation and reinforce to the public that they are safe on a night out with SIA guards.”
Although Banbridge performed well with the regulations and compliance rates in Northern Ireland compare favourably with the UK, Ms Roberts wanted to remind the public to report any unlicensed venues to Crimestoppers.
She said: “It is important that if the public see any non compliance issues when they are out that they are addressed and guards licenses must be on display. Premise owners can be prosecuted for this offence, and this can be anything up to six months in prison or a fine of £6,000 for the provider.”Ms Roberts also stressed that premises need to be licensed so the door staff working there can be trained properly to deal with anti-social behaviour and general disorder.
She said: “In the security industry we need to make sure people are properly acredited and that they know how to diffuse situations before they get out of hand. Coming up to Christmas and with the increase of door staff, people need to make sure that places are licensed.”
Although the regulation has been here for two years, the SIA is working towards a new regime and is working hard with ministers in the Home Office to co-operate with businesses.
The SIA therefore encourages businesses and people working in the industry to take part in consultation exercises.
Inspector Gillespie added: “The scheme lends support to businesses because it reinforces that it is legally obliged to have a license in place.”
If a premise is caught without a license,the provider will be called for an interview which can later lead to prosecution, however penalties are all considered on a case by case basis.
This is a three year license at a £245 fee, however in the New year it will be reduced to £220 and Ms Roberts wanted to remind people that when license holders come to renew, they can take advantage of reduced costs.