The Private Security Authority (PSA) has said that some of its activities continued to be restricted last year, due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Chief executive Paul Scallan stated, however, that its licensing and compliance teams operated at pre-pandemic levels.
The Private Security Services (Amendment) Act 2021 extended the PSA’s remit to enforcement guards, who are responsible for assisting in enforcing civil court orders.
In December, the PSA launched a public consultation on the requirements for contractors in this sector.
Fee income down
Writing in the authority’s annual report, Scallan said that plans for the licensing of personnel in the event-security and private-investigator sectors were “well advanced”.
Plans to extend licensing to event security had been put on hold in 2020.
During 2021, the PSA licensed 32,439 individuals, compared with 31,104 in 2020.
It licensed 1,447 contractors – up marginally on the previous year, and 3% ahead of the pre-pandemic level. The renewal rate among contractors was 92%.
The number of licences revoked jumped from 31 to 164, while income from fees dropped slightly to just over €2.6 million.
The PSA said that turnover recorded for licensed contractors increased by 5% compared with 2020.
The CCTV and alarm-monitoring sectors both showed strong increases, but COVID-19 restrictions led to sharp falls in the event-security, door-supervisor, and private-investigator sectors.
The report said that locksmiths were also negatively affected by the pandemic restrictions.
One employee prosecuted
The PSA refused 62 applications in 2021 – down from 98 in 2020. The main reasons for refusing applications involved the failure to participate in the process of garda vetting, or the result of convictions disclosed by the process.
One unlicensed employee was prosecuted in 2021, while a contractor and 151 employees had their licences revoked.
The watchdog said that 789 of its 870 enforcement cases in 2021 had been completed by the end of the year.
In almost 80% of these cases, it identified some form of non-compliance with the licensing requirements, though most were “minor breaches”, requiring no further action.
Some form of sanction was warranted in 96 cases. These actions ranged from revocation of the licence and refusal of an application, to the issuing of an advice notice.