by Geraldine Larkin, CEO, Private Security Authority
The Civil Law
(Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2011 New legislation enacted over the summer will strengthen the role of the
PSA by closing off loopholes exploited by industry and giving the PSA more operational flexibility.
The Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2011 was signed into law by the President on the 2nd August 2011. This new legislation provides for amendments across a range of civil and regulatory law including the Private Security Services Act 2004. The amendments relating to the Authority are contained in Part 4 of the Act and together with the 2004 Act will be cited together as the Private Security Services Acts 2004 and 2011. The new legislation is based on our experience over the last 6 years of operations and strengthens the provisions of the 2004 Act in regards to licensing and enforcement as well as introducing some new provisions. Speaking during the Oireachtas debate on the Bill in the Dáil, Minister for Justice and Equality, Mr. Alan Shatter T.D., said “The effectiveness of the Private Security Authority will be improved by the changes provided for in Part 4 of the Bill. The amendments provide for improvements to the licensing process of the Authority including technical changes to certain aspects of the renewal procedure and the power for the Authority to grant a temporary licence in particular circumstances. The Bill also increases the Authority’s powers to request information about individuals who are involved in the running of a security company. This will augment further the controls on the
management of security companies in addition to tax certification and other compliance measures which are already in place.” Some of the changes are of an administrative nature and will have little, if any, impact on the operations of the security industry. However, there are other changes that many of you will be interested in learning about. I will give a brief description of these below: There are two major changes in the definition of “installer of security equipment” with the definition being extended to cover the installation of access control systems for security purposes which controls or records access by persons or individuals either to a premises or within a premises. This is in recognition of the separateness that the installation of access control systems for security purposes has from the other installations of electronic security equipment while still continuing the intent to license this activity. Another more significant change with immediate impact is the removing of the word ‘remuneration‘ from the definition of installer of security equipment and inserting - in the course of a business, trade or profession” instead. This means that installers of alarm systems who regularly install alarm systems without
charging will be subject to licensing. This will build on the Authority’s existing enforcement resources when dealing with the small amount of disreputable contractors who try to circumvent the legislation by claiming that there was no remuneration involved for an installation. Similarly the definitions of private investigator and security consultant were amended with the replacement of the text “for remuneration” to “in the course of a business, trade or profession” The concept of a supplier of security equipment as a licensable activity has been removed from the legislation as there is no security service being provided at the point of supply. This will not impact on the Authority using its investigative powers seeking information from suppliers. The PSA now has the authority to recruit persons who are not staff of the PSA and appoint them as Inspectors. This will enhance the enforcement capacity and expertise of the Authority by allowing us engage specialists in the area of electronic security and recruiting temporary inspectors for targeted enforcement action. More changes see an extension of the Authority’s powers to obtain information on the beneficial owners of companies and allows for the grounds for refusal
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