Bouncers to declare criminal records

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The Independent Online
BOUNCERS, wheel clampers and private security guards will be required to declare their criminal records under proposals for a new licensing system to be announced by the Government this week.

Paul Boateng, the Home Office minister, will unveil plans to set up a new authority to vet everyone who works in the private security sector following concerns about criminals infiltrating the industry.

Club doormen and private wheel clampers will have to obtain a licence from the authority in order to work. Government inspectors will be responsible for checking employees' criminal records and weeding out those with a violent history.

The names of those judged to be acceptable will be published on a national register and any companies which employ unlicensed staff will face heavy fines. Employees who break the law or intimidate customers will immediately be struck off the register and lose their jobs.

The authority will also have the power to swoop on pubs, clubs and car parks around Britain to ensure that standards are being maintained. It will follow up complaints from members of the public and initiate investigations of its own.

The proposals, which will be set out in a White Paper, follow concern about links between bouncers and the criminal underworld. There have been several murders linked to doormen and others have faced allegations of drug dealing or running protection rackets.

Ministers are also increasingly worried about companies which operate wheel clamps on private land. They believe some firms intimidate drivers into paying extortionate fees to have their vehicles released.

"It is too easy for anbody to set themself up as a bouncer or wheel clamper and there are too many cowboys, too many drug dealers, too many crooks working in these jobs," one ministerial source said. "The existing law is failing to protect the public."