The Private Security Services (Amendment) Bill has passed through all stages in the Dáil and Seanad.
The bill brings the regulation and licensing of security personnel, assisting those enforcing court orders for evictions and repossessions, within the remit of the Private Security Authority.
James Browne (Minister of State with responsibility for Law Reform, Youth Justice and Immigration) said: “I am very pleased that this important bill has completed all stages in the Oireachtas.
“The principal objective of this bill is to insert a new category of ‘enforcement guard’ in the list of private security services licensed by the Private Security Authority under the 2004 act.
“The definition and insertion of this additional category of an enforcement guard will now address a gap in the legislation whereby those enforcing court orders are not currently subject to regulation or licensing by the Private Security Authority.
“This is important and will ensure that these services are appropriately regulated going forward”.
Bringing enforcement guards within the remit of the Private Security Authority will require them to obtain a licence to operate and ensure that they are subject to the training standards and licensing regime operated by the Private Security Authority.
A number of other amendments to the existing legislation have also been made, including:
- Allowing the Private Security Authority to refuse to renew a licence, or suspend or revoke a licence of a body corporate for the actions of its members,
- Making the register of licensed persons available for inspection, free of charge, to members of the public,
- Introducing an offence of “impersonating an inspector” of the authority.
The minister added: “We know that already challenging circumstances have been put under further strain by this lack of regulation, and I am pleased that we are able to bring clarity to this element of a difficult situation.
“Court orders obviously have to be upheld but they need to be upheld, if necessary, by persons who are properly regulated, who are identifiable and who have been trained.
A working group was convened following on from the removal of persons trespassing and illegally occupying a private property on North Frederick Street, Dublin, in September 2018, on foot of a High Court order.
They were removed by a private security firm. The personnel who attended at the property on behalf of the private security firm were not subject to regulation or licensing by the Private Security Authority under the Private Security Services Act 2004.
A ‘security service’ is defined under the act as a service provided by a private security employer or by any one of the following:
- Door supervisor,
- Installer of security equipment,
- Private investigator,
- Security consultant,
- Security guard,
- Provider of protected forms of transport,
- Supplier or installer of safes.