On 25 January 2023 Christopher Butler, from Belfast, pleaded guilty at Downpatrick Magistrates’ Court to five offences including providing illegal security to a bar and restaurant in Newtownards.
Two men supplied as security by Butler were also prosecuted on Wednesday for working illegally at the same venue. Butler, who is sole director of Strangford Security, has been referred for further proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Edward Donnan from Newtownards also pleaded guilty to working as illegal security at the restaurant and was fined £100, required to pay £104 court costs, £75 prosecution costs and £15 victim surcharge.
Konrad Jankowski of Newtownards was found guilty in his absence of working illegally. He was fined £350 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £75, plus £104 court costs and a victim surcharge of £15. Jankowski was previously prosecuted in 2019 for working illegally and fined £200.
The Security Industry Authority (SIA) brought the cases after receiving information that unlicensed security was being provided in Newtownards. SIA investigators conducted licensing inspections in Newtownards accompanied by Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) officers on 12 October 2019.
The investigators visited a restaurant and bar where two men were working as security. The area manager said that Strangford Security had supplied the men. SIA investigators checked the restaurant’s signing-in book and confirmed that neither was properly licensed. The investigators identified Konrad Jankowski using CCTV footage supplied by the restaurant.
In November 2019 Butler’s solicitor supplied some of the information requested by SIA investigators. However, he failed to provide the SIA with an accurate list of his security contracts and omitted the names of the two men identified providing illegal security to the restaurant.
SIA investigators found that he had supplied Donnan and Jankowski to the restaurant over an extended period. They invited the two men to an interview under caution, to which only Jankowski responded with a prepared statement.
Jenny Hart, one of the SIA’s Criminal Investigation Managers, said:
These prosecutions are an important development in addressing illegal security in Northern Ireland. The people of Newtownards deserve better. They should rightly expect to go out and have a good time protected by people who are suitably licensed. Jankowski and Donnan worked illegally at the restaurant and damaged its reputation by doing so. Their employer Christopher Butler tried to evade the regulatory regime by providing false information and failing to reveal the full extent of his criminality to the SIA. None of the men were fit and proper to hold an SIA licence, and all now have criminal records.
Notes to editors:
- By law, security operatives working under contract must hold and display a valid SIA licence
- Read about SIA enforcement and penalties
- The offences relating to the Private Security Industry Act 2001 that are mentioned above are as follows:
- Konrad Jankowski: Section 3 – working without a licence
- Edward Donnan: Section 3 – working without a licence
- Christopher Butler: 2 x Section 5 – deploying unlicensed guards; 1 x Section 19 – failing to provide information relating to an investigation; 2 x Section 22 – providing false information
- 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.gov.uk/sia. The SIA is also on LinkedInFacebook (Security Industry Authority) and Twitter (@SIAuk).