Monday, March 27, 2017

Australian loophole allows unqualified security guards to be licensed

Sydney AU March 27 2017 A jailed terrorist who plotted an attack on Sydney is among thousands of shonky security guards who have rorted a legal loophole to work in NSW.
Police are outraged that guards are risking public safety because they can’t speak English and aren’t properly trained. Some of them even think that firearms are used “to put out fires”.
NSW Police Security Licensing and Enforcement Directorate chief Cameron Smith said as many as 10,000 guards had dodged NSW’s ­robust licensing rules by registering interstate before working in NSW “no questions asked’’.
The Daily Telegraph can today reveal that includes Sydney terror plotter Mohammad Kiad, who was jailed for 15 years after pleading guilty last year to planning to bomb a Shia prayer hall and stabbing people in the kidneys to impress an Islamic State recruiter.
Mr Smith said NSW Police were forced to rubber-stamp Queensland licences — even though some guards need interpreters to help fill out the transfer paperwork.
“Individuals have effectively just been buying certificates with no training whatsoever,’’ he said.
“Untrained or inadequately trained security guards are a potential risk to themselves, their colleagues and members of the public.’’
He said half the security licences granted in NSW went to guards with Queensland qualifications under “mutual recognition’’ laws that force each state and territory to accept licences from interstate.
“We are seeing people obtaining Queensland licences to avoid the rigorous training requirements in NSW,’’ he said. “We are obliged to recognise their qualifications and issue a licence.
“We can’t fingerprint them and we can’t criminal record-check them — we are reliant on Queensland doing that.’’
Mr Smith confirmed Kiad gained his security licence in Queensland and transferred it automatically to NSW.
He said NSW guards must pass a literacy test but many interstate guards could not speak even basic English.
The problem has become so serious reputable security companies are now setting exams before hiring guards with a Queensland licence.
Calamity Monitoring CEO Daniel Lewkovitz said online training courses had “dumbed down’’ the industry, with most job applicants “completely unemployable’’.
“They’re put into roles where a failure could literally cost someone their life,’’ he said. “You have people who are working in major public transport hubs, at major event sites and in shopping centres who don’t even have basic communication skills and that is not OK.’’
SECTA Training Academy managing director Duncan McGufficke, who recruits guards for 520 security firms in NSW, said 95 per cent of job applicants flunked his basic knowledge test.
One Queensland-licensed guard who sought work in NSW wrote on his test paper that he would use a firearm “if I can see any fire’’.
Mr McGufficke said NSW security trainers had to deliver 102 hours of face-to-face training, yet in Queensland training can be done online.
“A blind man can get a security licence in Queensland and then use mutual recognition laws to get a licence in NSW,’’ he said.
The Queensland Office of Fair Trading, which administers security licences, said it did not test applicants’ English skills.

“If the training organisation deems the applicant competent, the OFT is obliged to consider them to have a sufficient minimum skill-set to operate in the industry,’’ a spokeswoman said.
Daily Telegraph

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