Victoria AU June 18 2017 Victoria Police blames an administrative error for issuing a new licence to a security guard with previous convictions, potentially allowing him access to firearms and the ability to transport hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash.
The circumstances surrounding the relicensing of the man, and how he was allowed to continue operating a security business for years after he had his licence cancelled, are subject to an internal police investigation.
The Professional Standards Command probe is one of three investigations being conducted into the embattled Victoria Police licensing and regulation division.
The administrative error continued a seemingly charmed run for the guard, who, despite having his licence cancelled in 2013, is understood to still own a company with lucrative contracts to transport cash for McDonald's franchisees.
Police failed to crack down on the man when his involvement in the company was exposed after an armed heist in 2014, or after being tipped-off the man was still working as a security guard in 2015.
And then, in 2016, he was issued with a new licence - despite being a prohibited person.
A senior officer within the division was well aware the man was unable to have a licence - he was the officer who charged the man with criminal offences three years earlier.
The internal investigation was prompted by a complaint that figures within the division had a corrupt relationship with the man.
The man was charged in 2013 with failing to comply with the conditions of his licence, improperly carrying a loaded firearm and driving on a suspended licence.
He appealed his conviction on all charges to the County Court and police eventually withdrew the charge of improperly carrying a loaded firearm.
Nevertheless, the convictions for the other offences should have resulted in him not being able to be actively involved in the two private security businesses he owned and directed.
But a year after the man had his licence suspended, one of his guards was robbed of $287,000 while transporting cash from McDonald's franchisees.
The robbery at a McDonald's in Sunbury was one of the largest armed heists in recent Victorian history and sparked an overhaul of requirements for security cash transportation, after police were critical of the processes used by franchisees and the man's company.
It appears the man escaped direct police scrutiny, despite his continued involvement in the industry.
Police investigated whether the armed heist was an inside job, and were aware who owned the security company which had been targeted.
The security guard who was robbed at the Sunbury franchise was unarmed, did not have a safe in his car, and was known to collect takings from several restaurants at regular times.
After the robbery, the owner of the company, who was only insured to carry up to $250,000, and only in cars fitted with a safe, pledged to repay the losses to the franchisees - an unusual arrangement which also should have raised eyebrows with police, a security insider said, especially given the man was not even licensed to own a security company at the time.
It appears the transgression was forgiven by McDonald's franchisees, and the man's security company is understood to still have contracts to transport their cash.
Emails from McDonald's managers obtained by Fairfax Media show the security guard was listed as the contact for one of five security companies in Victoria and Tasmania which were "approved and compliant" for regulations which came into effect for cash pick-up contractors in February, 2015.
The new regulations were implemented because of the issues identified after the Sunbury robbery.
The same year as the armed robbery, as many as 12 semi-automatic handguns which had been registered to the man's business and were seized when he had his licence suspended were returned to an associate.
A person who is disqualified from having a security licence is still the owner of weapons, police confirmed, meaning the man was allowed to transfer ownership of them to the associate.
But security insiders believe the transfer meant the man was effectively allowed to keep his guns and continue operating his business.
Victoria Police confirmed the division received allegations in 2015 that the security guard was operating without a licence but said they were unable to substantiate the claims.
Police did not answer questions about whether officers obtained CCTV footage of the security guard performing a cash-in-transit delivery to a Westpac branch whilst carrying a concealed firearm.
They confirmed the man was issued with another licence in November last year, but that it was cancelled once the administrative error was discovered. It is understood this occurred in January.
The man had been issued a security advisers licence valid until 2019.