Security company paid over �1 million by Barnet Council did not hold security licence

DIRECTORS of a security firm that has been paid �1.2million by Barnet Council have been operating without appropriate licences from the Security Industry Authority (SIA).

None of the directors of MetPro Rapid Response, which is now in liquidation owing �250,000 to the taxpayer, or the director of newly formed MetPro Emergency Response which took over the contract until it was terminated by Barnet this month, held the appropriate SIA licences for a company which provides security guarding – which is a criminal offence.

Directors of security companies are required to have one of three SIA licences depending on the role they play within the company. If they work on the frontline doing activities such as security guarding then they need a frontline licence for that activity.

Even if directors have no role on the frontline they still need a “non-frontline” licence to employ security guards if their employees are undertaking licensable activities.

Alternatively, if the director has a non-active role in the company and is simply a key holder they must still have a “key holder’s licence.”

One of MetPro Rapid Response’s directors, Luigi Mansi, holds a key holding licence but not a non-frontline licence.

Kevin Sharkey who was registered as a secretary of MetPro Rapid Response and claims he is owed �60,000 by the now defunct company, was working for MetPro Emergency Response at the Hendon Town Hall meeting on March 1 guarding the overflow room and telling attendees where they could and could not go. He also filmed the proceedings with a body-worn CCTV camera. Mr Sharkey has no licence whatsoever from the SIA.

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Noyan Nihat who is listed as company director of the newly formed Metpro Emergency Reponse also holds no licence with the SIA.

He said he has applied for the licence but has not yet received it. He also said that his company employees were not “security staff” for the borough of Barnet – a claim Barnet disputes.

The SIA has passed on the findings about MetPro Emergency Response and Metpro Rapid Response directors and employees to their internal investigators who are looking into the company.

Barnet Council said that it was unaware that members of MetPro staff were not registered. A spokeswoman said: “We were assured by MetPro that all staff were SIA registered. Staff should have been following industry guidelines and been wearing accredited ID.”

The council terminated its contract with MetPro Emergency Response this month after the Ham&High revealed how one of its officers had been filming residents at an open council meeting.

The SIA states that those using CCTV equipment to “monitor” or “identify” any person in any place including the recording of images – which includes the recording of images for anything other than for “the purposes of identifying a trespasser or protecting property” requires a specific CCTV licence.

None of the directors of either company, or Kevin Sharkey, holds this licence.

This week Deputy Borough police commander of Barnet, Neil Seabridge emphasised that use of any ‘covert’ or ‘intrusive’ surveillance would have not have been sanctioned by police at that event.

He said: “I can state categorically that police did not authorise any intrusive surveillance at the council meeting.

“Nor did we tell anyone else they could use covert or intrusive surveillance, which is a highly regulated area which requires specific written authority by a police superintendent or above when police initiate it for very specific reasons linked to investigation or prevention of crime.

“Such a meeting at the town hall would not fall under any of these categories.”