GovWire

Detailed guide: If we refuse your application for an SIA licence

Security Industry Authority

October 20
14:32 2020

Once we get your application and you have completed any next steps, we run our standard checks on your application. Read more about what we check.

If you do not pass all of our checks, we may refuse your application.

For example, we will refuse your application if:

  • you do not have the right to work in the UK
  • your criminal record shows you could be a risk to the public
  • we consider you to be unsuitable to work in the private security industry for another reason, such as dishonest behaviour
  • you are not who you say you are

We may refuse your application if an organisation we work with, such as the police, gives us information that shows you are unsuitable to hold a licence.

If we decide to refuse your application, you can appeal our decision before it becomes final.

How to appeal to us if we refuse your application

If we decide to refuse your application, we will write to you to explain why. The letter will tell you how you can send us an appeal before our decision comes into legal effect.

If you want to send us an appeal, you will need to do so within 21 days. We will explain what information you need to send with your appeal.

If you cannot send us all the information within 21 days, you should let us know within this time limit. In certain situations, we can give you more time.

If we get your appeal within 21 days, we will look at the information you have given us. We will then let you know whether we stand by our decision to refuse your licence. We aim to review appeals as quickly as we can, but it often takes us about 4 weeks to respond to an appeal.

If we do stand by our decision, it will come into effect immediately. However, you can still make a court appeal against our decision.

If we have refused your application because you do not have the right to work in the UK

If our checks show that you do not have a right to work in the UK, we will send you a letter explaining that we are going to refuse your application.

If you think our information is wrong, you should send us evidence to show why it is wrong.

You will also need to send us evidence of your right to work in the UK, such as:

  • a UK visa
  • a biometric residence permit or card
  • a current immigration status document
  • a passport showing stamps or endorsements that confirm your immigration status
  • letters from the Home Office confirming that you are applying to stay in the UK or appealing against a decision not to allow you to stay in the UK

If you are a UK, EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, you should send us your passport.

If we have refused your application because of your criminal record

In this situation, we will send you a refusal letter that lists the offences in your criminal record that are relevant to our decision to refuse your application. Read more about what we look at when we check your criminal record.

If you decide to send us an appeal, we can only look at certain information. This depends on the type of refusal we have sent you.

There are two types of refusal:

  • automatic refusal
  • consider additional factors

We will send you an automatic refusal if there are offences in your criminal record that are recent enough and/or serious enough that they show you are a definite risk to the public.

We will send a consider other factors refusal if the offences in your criminal record are recent enough and/or serious enough that they show you may be a risk to the public.

If we send you an automatic refusal, we will only look at any factual mistakes we have made in our decision. In other words, if you think our information is wrong, you can give us the correct information. For example, you can tell us if there is a mistake in the list of offences that we have included in the refusal letter.

If we tell you that we will consider additional factors, you have two options. If you think we have based our decision on wrong information, you can give us the correct information. If our information is correct, you can give us mitigating evidence about your offences.

Giving us mitigating evidence about your criminal offences

If we have sent you a refusal letter that says we will consider additional factors, you have up to 21 days to send us mitigating evidence.

Mitigating evidence is information that you believe will show us one or both of the following:

  • your criminal record is not as bad as it might seem
  • you have rehabilitated yourself so that, despite your criminal record, you are suitable to hold the licence you have applied for

If you want to provide mitigating evidence, you must send us both of the following:

  • a personal statement
  • a character reference, or several character references

You can also:

Personal statement

Your personal statement should give us details about your offences that you think may affect our decision. For example, you might tell us that your offences were many years ago, and that you have spent time since then working on your rehabilitation.

We cannot change what is in your criminal record. We can only look at our decision whether to grant you a licence.

You may feel that the offences or sentences in your criminal record are unfair. We cannot take this into account.

Character references

You can provide as many character references as you want. One reference might be enough. Sending more references does not always make it more likely that we will change our decision.

We call a person who gives us a character reference a referee.

A character reference has less value if it is from:

  • a member of your family
  • a friend
  • a current employer

This is because they may have a personal reason (vested interest) for wanting you to get a licence.

A character reference has more value if it is from an independent person. This is someone who doesnt have a personal reason for wanting you to get a licence. This might be:

  • a previous employer
  • A person of standing in the community, such as:
    • a church leader
    • a councillor
    • a doctor
    • an MP
    • a police officer

A referee must sign and date each character reference that they give you. The reference must include:

  • their name and contact details, including a daytime telephone number
  • their job title and type of employment
  • how they know you and for how long
  • a list of the offences that are relevant to your application (a list of these will be in your refusal letter)
  • a statement saying that theyre aware of these offences

It should also include:

  • any observations about you from the time of the offences particularly:
    • actions that may have been out of character
    • events that may have influenced your actions
  • any observations about your character since you committed the offences
  • any evidence of how you have shown rehabilitation since the offences
  • any community work or volunteer work you have done that your referee knows about

Evidence of your rehabilitation

Evidence of your rehabilitation could include proof that you have:

  • done voluntary training that is related to your offence (or offences)
  • taken part in other community activities

How to appeal once our decision comes into legal effect

Once our decision to refuse your application has come into effect, we do not have the power to change this decision unless a court tells us to.

At this point, you have a legal right to appeal against our decision in a magistrates or sheriff court. You must do this within 21 days of our decision.

You may have to pay the costs involved with making a court appeal.

it is a criminal offence to perform a licensable activity without a licence. If a court convicts you, you could get a fine or a 6-month prison sentence or both.

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