York company director to pay £40,000 in proceeds of crime

Last Friday, June 11, 2021, Christopher Downes appeared in York Crown Court and was ordered to pay £20,000 within six weeks. He must also pay an additional £20,000 within six months or he faces 18 months in prison. The court order under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) follows Downes’ conviction by York Crown Court on February 11, 2021. The court gave Downes a community order of 60 hours, which he must perform within 18 months. He also had to pay prosecution costs of £2,735 within six weeks, plus a victim surcharge.

The court heard on Friday that Downes had been awarded criminal compensation of £40,000.

For several years Downes was a director of F1 Security Services Ltd in York. He was identified by Security Industry Authority (SIA) investigators as working without a license. It is a legal requirement that a director of a security company be in possession of a valid SIA license.

On April 22, 2020, Downes applied for an SIA license. The following week, on April 28, 2020, he resigned from his directorship of F1 Security Ltd, but the investigation had identified his directorship as an illegal director. On September 11, 2020, Downes was formally interviewed by the SIA investigation team. He fully and frankly admitted that he was working as an administrator without any type of SIA license and that he had not informed the SIA within a reasonable time of his previous conviction.

The SIA investigation found that Downes’ previous SIA license expired on September 24, 2017. From that date until April 2020, he continued to run the business without a license. He provided security industry services to a number of clients and managed licensed security officers who conducted licensed business until he resigned as a director.

Additionally, Downes had received a criminal conviction at York Crown Court on 3 November 2014 which he did not disclose to the SIA.

Nathan Salmon, director of criminal investigations at the SIA, said:

Downes profited greatly from his illegal work in the private security industry. His actions demonstrated that he was not fit and suitable to work in the industry. The court order will help correct the imbalance that illegal logging has in the private security market. Confiscation demonstrates that crime does not pay. Downes has a criminal record and a large fine to pay.

Notes to Editors:

  • The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA) sets out the statutory regime for the recovery of criminal assets, with criminal forfeiture being the most commonly used power. Confiscation takes place after a conviction has taken place.
  • If a person has a POCA order against them, they must pay it whether or not they are serving jail time
  • By law, security guards working under contract must hold and display a valid SIA license
  • Learn more about SIA enforcement and penalties
  • The offenses relating to the Private Security Industry Act (2001) mentioned above are:
    • Section 3 (working without a permit)
    • Section 5 (deployment of unlicensed guards)
  • Read the Private Security Industry Act 2001

Further information :

  • The Security Industry Authority is the body responsible for regulating the private security industry in the UK, reporting to the Home Secretary under the Private Security Industry Act 2001. Our main functions are: compulsory licensing of persons undertaking designated activities; and management of the voluntary certified contractor program.
  • For more information on the Security Industry Authority, visit www.gov.uk/sia. The SIA is also on Facebook (Security Industry Authority) and Twitter (SIAuk).