An undercover reporter from File on 4 approached 12 companies offering Level 2 SIA door supervisor courses and four of the companies offered the undercover journalist shortened courses – which is against regulations – ranging from one-and-a-half to three days, BBC investigation revealed.
Titled “Security Threat: Sham training courses risk public safety”, the File on 4 programme revealed how mandatory six-day training courses are being shortened and how candidates are told to falsifty time sheets and are given the answers to a final examination to ensure they pass and can subsequently work in an industry which is supposed to keep the public safe.
Steps Institution, in Forest Gate, east London, was one of the companies that offered the undercover reporter a shortened, fraudulent course for an additional £310 despite being an SIA-approved course provider and being listed on the regulator’s website. This shortened version of the course did not include some crucial mandatory modules such as first aid, conflict management and door supervision.
Mandatory six-day training course is required to apply for a Security Industry Authority (SIA) licence which is subject to identity and criminal record checks. The blue cards seen on security staff armbands represent this licence.
Caetop College in Ilford, east London was another training centre which offered only a three-day course. The undercover BBC reporter was asked to fill in timesheets for six days. He was then coached on a test which he should have taken at the end of a whole day of first-aid training and the trainer told him: “That was first aid – so your first aid is finished now.”
Moreover, when the candidates sat for a final exam, they were given no question sheets but only answer sheets to multiple-choice questions and everyone was told by the trainer what options to circle – A, B, C and so on.
The findings on BBC’s undercover investigation caused concern for public safety.
Paul Greaney KC, legal counsel to the inquiry into the 2017 Manchester Arena bombing, told BBC that he remained “extremely concerned about the safety of the public attending events” after having been presented with the findings of BBC’s undercover investigation.
He said the inquiry revealed that had the security staff received proper training it could have made a “decisive difference” to what happened – either averting the attack or aiding the injured.
The SIA refused to be interviewed about the latest BBC investigation, but said it was now working with the organisations which oversee these training companies to further investigate the BBC material. It said it would be referring the matter to the police.