Man prosecuted for working unlicensed as a school security guard

Worcester Magistrates’ Court sentenced Steven Richardson to a 12-month community order, with a 120-hour unpaid work requirement, and ordered him to pay a victim surcharge of £144 plus court costs of £500, amounting to a total of £644.

The case began when West Mercia Police told the SIA that they had charged Mr Richardson with a criminal offence. SIA investigators wrote to Richardson on 23 September 2022 to inform him that they were suspending his licence due to the charges being brought against him. Richardson had in addition breached his licence conditions by failing to declare the pending prosecution to the SIA. On 25 January 2023, West Mercia Police informed the SIA that a court had sentenced Richardson for the criminal offence.

As part of the licence suspension, the SIA required Richardson to return his SIA licence immediately, which he failed to do. The SIA sent two subsequent suspension review letters to his address. Richardson had moved house, but failed to inform the SIA, which was also a breach of his licence conditions.

Despite his suspension, Richardson continued working as an unlicensed security guard at a school for almost two months, until SIA regional investigators informed the staff that he did not hold a valid SIA licence. He was paid for the shifts that he worked while unlicensed and didn’t inform his employer. He knew that he wouldn’t be able to carry out a licensable role and earn money if he declared his SIA licence suspension.

A first court hearing took place on 3 July 2023, at which Richardson pleaded guilty to contravening his licence conditions owing to his failure to disclose his conviction for the criminal offence. Richardson was not sentenced on 3 July 2023 as he pleaded not guilty to engaging in licensable conduct without a licence. He later changed his plea to guilty on 19 January 2024 and was sentenced on 26 January 2024.

Jenny Hart, one of the SIA’s criminal investigations managers, said:

If it weren’t for the quick actions of the SIA regional investigators in informing the school’s security manager, this offending could have gone on for longer. The primary purpose of the SIA licensing regime is to protect the public. A person must be vetted as fit and proper to hold an SIA licence. This is because the people who hold licences are in positions of responsibility.

Steven Richardson worked for two months following his licence suspension. This created a safeguarding risk at the school where he was employed. Offenders like Richardson need to be aware of the consequences of their illegal actions.