In recent months there has been an ongoing, and legally questionable, campaign of harassment waged against a number of licensed premises and individual door supervisors. This has been supported by the PSNI who have allowed the SIA to use their powers under PACE, despite there being no legal basis for such an arrangement.
Despite the limitation of the SIA’s powers being set out in statute, the statutory body corporate appears to have- with the connivance of the PSNI- simply decided to grant themselves extra powers. It is understood the use of police powers by the SIA will be the subject of a judicial review.
In recent weeks one particular SIA official has completely lost the run of himself. This prompted the DSANI to write to the official and advise him that he is not Batman.
The individual in question sent over 14 letters to 4 people within a 3 day period, he also dispatched a young lady in a Nike tracksuit and baseball cap to people’s doors to deliver letters on behalf of the SIA. The young lady, presumably wooed by the official into believing she was some kind of thrilling undercover agent, appeared at the door of a number of men in recent days.
In these letters the SIA official threatened to arrest under PACE door supervisors who refused to comply with his increasingly zealous demands for information under Section 19 of the Private Security Industry Act 2001. He is clearly unaware that despite his own imagination that he is some kind of secret James Bond, that he actually has no power of arrest beyond that of an ordinary citizen and that the PSNI have no powers of entry to make an arrest for a summary only matter. Unless he is actually going to engage in some vigilante citizen’s arrests, or he can persuade the PSNI to run around public places trying to make an arrest for a summary only matter- then it appears the threats are rather vacuous and legally illiterate.
Of course the same SIA official has made some improvements. In previous letters to association members he had referred to the Police and Criminal Evidence Order 1984. He had to be gently advised that such legislation is not applicable to Northern Ireland. Despite the improvement the SIA officer continues to demonstrate his poor grasp of the law- in recent letters he has demanded (on pain of him using the powers of arrest he doesn’t have) personal financial information from regulated persons. He fails to recognise that when the UK Secretary of State provided extra financial investigation powers to the SIA in November 2015 that these powers did not extend to Northern Ireland. Once again therefore this increasingly obsessive and erratic SIA officer is making it up as he goes along and is trying to intimidate people into compliance with his legally dubious demands.
The aforementioned are just some examples of the bizarre behaviour of this individual- who also followed an individual out from an interview under caution and provided his business card urging the individual to “call him” because he “knows what is going on” and then suggested that a failure to do so would lead to the SIA continuing to “harass” him. The newly formed association has expressed particular alarm at this incident and stated that they fear the SIA has entirely lost the run of themselves.
In a statement a spokesperson for the Door Supervisors Association NI told Unionist Voice;
“A sizeable group of door supervisors have been meeting informally to share experiences of the SIA and to carry out legal research and draft ideas for quite some time. However due to recent events, whereby a number of door supervisors have experienced astonishing levels of harassment by one particular SIA official, it has been decided to formalise the group into the Door Supervisors Association NI.
“The SIA have an important job to do, and Parliament has granted them certain powers. The issue is that they are going way beyond their powers; it is fair to say they are out of control. One individual alone received 5 letters in 48 hours issuing all sorts of legally questionable demands. This appears to be the actions of someone who has become so obsessed that they have entirely lost control of their own capability to function or behave rationally.
“We have today written to the SIA to express a number of concerns, especially around the abuse of their powers and indeed the invention of powers which they simply do not have in Northern Ireland. It is also a matter of deep concern that the PSNI appear to be facilitating the SIA’s descent into sheer madness- probably because they approve of their actions for political purposes- and are simply permitting some SIA officials to run amok. The officials are behaving like a child with a machine gun, however thus far they have only managed to repeatedly shoot themselves.
The statement concluded;
“In our robust letter to the SIA we had a very simple phrase to highlight the absurdity of the actions of one particular SIA officer. We said to him quite seriously- ‘you Sir, are not Batman’. It is hoped the relevant individual takes stock of his recent behaviour, and/or the SIA works hard to salvage the reputational damage being done to their statutory body corporate.”