Thursday, 8 November 2012

Questions (252)

Michael Creed

Question:

252. Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will clarify the law as it applies to the private security industry; the specific role and responsibility of the Private Security Authority; if his attention has been drawn to new regulations recently introduced by the Private Security Authority for the regulation of those involved in the provision of CCTV domestic and commercial security systems and so on; the associated costs for those in the Industry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49123/12]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Private Security Authority, established under the Private Security Services Act 2004 (as amended by the Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2011) is the regulatory body with responsibility for regulating and licensing the private security industry in the State. The Authority is an independent body under the aegis of my Department and the administration of the Authority is vested in a Board whose membership includes industry representatives. The key responsibilities of the Authority are to licence and regulate those providing security services and to improve and maintain standards in the provision of these services.

I am informed that the Authority issues two types of licence, both of which are valid for a period of two years. Contractor Licences are required by companies, partnerships and sole traders. Individual Licences are required by all those working in the security sector within the State whether employed by a licensed contractor or directly by a business as in house security personnel.

Regulations were recently introduced to extend licensing to contractors providing security services installing CCTV and access control systems with effect from the 1st October 2012. In accordance with these regulations, all contractors installing and maintaining CCTV and access control systems must be in possession of the appropriate licence(s) or have an application lodged with the Authority. In order to obtain a licence, a contractor must prove compliance with national and European standards, be tax compliant and undergo criminal record checking.

The provision of a regulatory environment understandably leads to cost implications for the industry but the public and the industry itself both benefit from regulation. The Authority has made every effort to ensure that costs are kept to a minimum and has introduced an instalment payment option to assist contractors with paying for their licence. The PSA's licence fee structure is monitored by the Authority on a regular basis and I am advised that the Board of the Authority is, in fact, currently reviewing the licence fee.

The introduction of regulation to a previously unregulated industry will always present challenges for both the regulator and the industry. Since its establishment the Authority has brought about a fundamental change in the security industry through a standards based licensing system. The Authority is aware of the difficulties faced by the industry at this time and continues to seek ways of easing the burden of regulation while at the same time meeting its statutory obligations.