At Teesside Crown Court, on 30 June 2017, Christopher Catchpole was sentenced to 32 months imprisonment following a guilty plea to offences of money laundering, supplying an unlicensed security operative and being the director of a security company without a Security Industry Authority (SIA) licence. The sentence is the conclusion of a lengthy investigation involving ourselves and a number of local enforcement partners. In 2014, the North East Regional Asset Recovery Team (RART) contacted our investigators with concerns regarding Catchpole and his security company, Prolock Security North East Ltd.
Our investigators conducted a number of site visits and found an unlicensed guard working on a site in Stockton-On-Tees. This is an offence under the Private Security Industry Act (PSIA). Catchpole was the director of the company who supplied the unlicensed guard and we discovered that he was also unlicensed himself. This provided the catalyst to investigate Catchpole and his security company further and ultimately to report the case to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). Our investigators worked closely with the RART and used their powers under the Private Security Industry Act to obtain information relating to the conduct of Catchpole and his security business.
While this prosecution was underway, the Police also had an on-going investigation into Catchpole for the part he played in an organised criminal group who were involved in the supply of class A drugs. As a result, we worked with the Police prior to Catchpole being charged and sentencing was postponed until the drugs case was concluded. In 2016, Catchpole formed a new security company, and our investigators carried out additional site visits. They identified more security operatives who were working without SIA licences.
Our investigators also found Catchpole had profited significantly from the security contracts he had secured. They were able to provide evidence in court that that Catchpole s activities had deprived legitimate security companies from obtaining 1.1 million of business. Catchpole was charged in March 2015, sentencing was adjourned until 30 June 2017 when he was sentenced to 32 months imprisonment, for money laundering and offences under the Private Security Industry Act. Catchpole is also subject to a Serious Crime Prevention Order which will come into effect once he is released from prison.
The order includes a condition that he must not have a role in any business relating to security. The RART and CPS are now taking steps to recover the proceeds of Catchpole s criminality, with a further hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act set for November this year. Our Criminal Investigations Manager, Pete Easterbrook said:
Christopher Catchpole operated a security business with a complete disregard for the law and gave no thought whatsoever to the consequences of supplying unlicensed security operatives. In addition, this investigation has highlighted the significant financial loss to legitimate businesses through his unlawful activities, and the profit made by Catchpole at the expense of his customers. Mr. Catchpole is now serving a considerable prison sentence, and this is due in no small part the excellent relationship between the SIA and our partner agencies. I would particularly like to thank colleagues from the North East RART for the tenacity and commitment they have shown during this investigation.
The SIA will continue to work with partners to take robust action against those who use the security industry as a vehicle for their criminality.
DS Thomas Maughan from the North East Regional Asset Recovery Team, who led this investigation, said
The sentence of 32 months imprisonment is a reflection of the seriousness of the offending. Christopher Catchpole ran a very lucrative security business without a licence, trained staff or valid insurance. He has showed a blatant disregard for the Security Industry Authority (SIA) regulations throughout and continued to trade illegally for over a year after conviction. We have instigated a Proceeds of Crime Act timetable and will continue to pursue anybody who gains from their criminal activities. The serious crime prevention order granted means that for 5 years after his release from prison the police can monitor his activities and prevent Christopher Catchpole from committing similar offences in the future. I would like to thank the CPS, the SIA and the North East Regional Serious Organised Crime Unit for their assistance in this protracted investigation.
- The Security Industry Authority is the organisation responsible for regulating the private security industry in the United Kingdom, reporting to the Home Secretary under the terms of the Private Security Industry Act 2001. The SIA’s main duties are: the compulsory licensing of individuals undertaking designated activities; and managing the voluntary Approved Contractor Scheme.
- For further information about the Security Industry Authority or to sign up for email updates visit www.sia.homeoffice.gov.uk.
Paul Bassett explains the steps HR must take to keep staff safe and encourage resilience in difficult times
Security crises of multiple kinds loom as credible threats to UK organisations and their employees . From emergency repatriation and being caught up in a terrorist attack to kidnap while travelling overseas and extortion, almost every company faces the possibility of suffering dramatic, disruptive events that can also have unsettling, damaging and potentially long-lasting effects on their people.
In today s fast-evolving climate of security threats, the risk is tangible . In a recent YouGov poll for Arthur J .
Gallagher, two in five (40 per cent) large UK companies reported already experiencing a security threat in the past 24 months, and accepted that the risk is rising . Small organisations can just as easily be affected, and are often more vulnerable, but the research found that UK SMEs are underprepared only 17 per cent had tried to assess their exposure.
To ensure any organisation maximises its resilience and employees wellbeing, they must proactively engage and coordinate the efforts of all key functions to successfully anticipate, prevent, respond and recover from these threats . HR departments have a central role to play in these resilience-building efforts, not least because every company has a legal duty of care to its employees.
HR must work alongside risk, security, finance, IT, communications, legal and real estate with planning, preparation and training lying at the heart of the process.
To help satisfy your duty of care to employees who may be involved in an incident, HR teams should:
ensure all employees know which colleagues are involved in crisis response, and require them to provide and regularly update their emergency contact details and personal information;
maintain real-time information about colleagues movements, and provide them with an effective information flow regarding safety critical issues;
provide situational awareness training, such as what to do if caught up in civil commotion or a marauding terrorist attack, incorporating the UK counter-terrorism police s run, hide, tell recommendation;
create a robust process and clear awareness of travel emergency response, including medical assistance information, evacuation and repatriation procedures, together with contact details; and
offer access to post-incident trauma counselling and other return-to-work support for those caught up in and negatively affected by security events.
Employers must avoid a box ticking approach to anticipating and preventing security threats . From the top down and the bottom up, everyone must understand the importance of resilience-building measures . This is where cross-functional coordination is key.
The first step is to anticipate . What threats might the business face ? From an HR perspective, the question should be recast: what threats may employees face ? Being small, remote or low profile does not make you immune many of today s security threats are often not targeted at any particular organisation or industry . HR departments should brainstorm these questions, perhaps with support from risk specialists.
The second step is prevention .
Appropriate training and regular updates are a good example of preventative measures . Simple communication can often avert a crisis . When employees are on the road, for example, they can be required to check in at intervals, alleviating concerns that, should a terrorist or other security incident suddenly occur, they are affected or involved.
The third step, to respond, has its foundation in excellent planning . Cool heads should prevail in times of crisis, and that is much more likely when delegated individuals take the lead and follow carefully prepared crisis response plans . Everyone in the organisation should be aware of these leaders responsibilities.
Unfortunately, Gallagher s research found that only two-thirds of large UK companies have either a business continuity or disaster recovery plan, with only half of those regularly testing them . Fewer still (59 per cent) have a crisis management plan . Among SMEs, the picture was worse 43 per cent have no crisis or continuity plans at all . This reveals a large gap in UK companies crisis resilience and, ultimately, employee welfare.
The final step is recovery . When events do happen, a swift return to business-as-usual is a key goal .
From a people perspective, that means ensuring every employee affected has the post-incident help and support they need to recover and return to work.
Paul Bassett is managing director for crisis management at Arthur J .
Police are appealing for information after a security guard was tied up during an armed robbery at a north Belfast shop in the early hours of this morning.
Three men, one of which was understood to have been armed with a handgun, gained entry to the shop on Oldpark Road shortly before 330am.
Detective Sergeant Kelly said: “They then tied up the security guard and rummaged the shop before stealing and making off in a black VW Jetta that was parked in the vicinity.”