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Australia: Security Industry Gets Tough on Its Guards

03/04/2008 -The security industry in New South Wales, Australia, has gotten tough with its security guards, revoking the licenses of more than 150 guards and refusing licenses to another 65 applicants, according to Australian media reports.

The moves come after the security industry released new regulations governing security guards last September, reportsThe Sydney Morning Herald.

The security industry - twice the size of the police force in NSW - has been plagued by criminal infiltration, prompting the Australian Crime Commission to begin an investigation last year.

In September the ban on people with certain types of criminal records from working in the industry was extended to those with convictions for a wider range of offences, such as terrorism, affray or stalking and intimidation.

The industry's new security advisory council will also consider compulsory drug and alcohol testing to weed out the undesireables.

Some of the 200 people who either had their licenses revoked or refused had ties to "bikie gangs" or outlaw biker outfits like the Hells Angels. Other offenses that resulted in revocation or refusal of a license includedpossession of child pornographyas well as lying on one's application.

Police Minister David Campbellsaid, "High standards have been set in the industry to keep the bad eggs out."

The new regulations, however,  have made it harder for security contractors to find enough staff to cover all their contracts. "I think people are able to fill most positions for the major contracts but it's maybe some off the fringe contracts are struggling," Bryan de Caires, head of the Australian Security Industry Association, told the Herald.