Bradford man caught using fake references in security licence appeal

A Bradford man has been sentenced after he was discovered using fake references in a dishonest attempt to gain a Security Industry Authority (SIA) licence.

On Thursday 9 February 2023 Shakeel Ahmed was sentenced at Bradford Magistrates’ Court to a 12-month community order with a 150-hour unpaid work duty. He was also ordered to pay £600 prosecution costs and a victim surcharge of £95. The sentence follows Ahmed’s guilty plea on 11 October 2022 to forging documents in a fraudulent appeal against an SIA decision to reject his door supervisor’s licence application.

Mr Ahmed applied for an SIA licence to work in the private security industry on 12 March 2021. The SIA rejected his licence application due to previous criminality. Mr Ahmed sent four supposedly independent character references to the SIA in support of an appeal. The SIA’s decision team realised that the character references were either fraudulent or forged, due to suspicious similarities between them.

The SIA’s criminal investigations team began an investigation into the sources of the character references on 23 August 2021. One supposed source told SIA investigators that he didn’t know Mr Ahmed. Another said that although he knew of Mr Ahmed, he had not provided a character reference for him. An SIA investigator confirmed that the proposed reference and signature did not belong to him.

A third man confirmed to SIA investigators that he was a friend of Mr Ahmed. However, he supplied a statement stating that he had not given him a reference.

On 25 November 2021 SIA investigators interviewed Mr Ahmed under caution. During the interview Mr Ahmed repeatedly denied that he had forged the character references. Eventually he admitted that he had produced four independent character references and forged the signatures on three of them. His intention was to use the forgeries to appeal against the SIA’s decision to refuse him a licence.

Jenny Hart, the SIA’s criminal investigations manager said

The purpose of the SIA’s licensing regime is to protect the public. The SIA applies significant scrutiny during the decision process to assess whether someone is ‘fit and proper’ to hold an SIA licence. Mr Ahmed’s previous criminality had led to the decision that he was not suitable to hold a licence. Forgery is a serious criminal offence, and I commend the vigilance of SIA colleagues in detecting this fraud.