Mr Charlie Flanagan, Minister for Equality, is to seek an amendment to the Private Security Services Act 2004 (“the Act”) to make provision for the inclusion of private security companies and their personnel who engage in the execution of court orders.
Mr Flanagan briefed the Cabinet on 9 April 2019 on his findings and his proposals to bring enforcement personnel under the remit of the Private Security Authority (“PSA”), following his report on the assessment of whether security personnel are satisfactorily regulated.
The proposed Bill would amend section 2 of the Act, which regulates and provides oversight of security staff. The proposed Bill would provide for a new category of security personnel to come within the remit of the Act, and under the scope of the PSA to include “persons involved in the execution and/or enforcement of Court orders including Orders for Repossession”.
Currently there is no obligation for personnel or firms that execute court orders to be licensed. This is in contrast to the regulation of door security in shops and bars, who under Sections 29 and 30 of the Act must be licensed. The Act provides the ability to suspend or revoke such a license, together with providing for the maintenance of the list of licencees. There is also a requirement for that category of private security personnel to identify themselves and show ID clearly.
If the proposed Bill is successful, all private security workers will be subject to the same provisions, and have to be registered with the PSA. This would ensure that private security firm workers would be subject to the PSA’s training standards and licensing regime.
In addressing the Cabinet, Mr Flanagan stated that once the amendments are made to the Act it will be an offence for any “Enforcement Guard” to operate without a license or to advertise oneself as a license holder. If an “Enforcement Guard” is operating without a license or is displaying an object so as to mislead someone to believe they have a license, that person may be liable for a Class A fine or imprisoned for up to 12 months or both on a summary conviction. A conviction on indictment can lead to imprisonment up to 5 years or imposition of a fine.
Mr Flanagan’s proposal for legislative change was endorsed by Cabinet on 9 April 2019 click here