Will a Criminal Record or AVO Affect My Security Licence?

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Security guard going down escalator

Do you already work in the security industry, or are you considering a career in the field?

Whether you are currently employed or looking for work, you will need to have a security licence for most security-related occupations.

If you are currently facing criminal charges, you may be concerned about how a criminal conviction or AVO will affect getting a licence, or the status of your current licence.

What jobs do I need a security licence for?

A security licence is required for a number of security industry occupations, including:

  • Security guard
  • Crowd controller
  • Security consultant
  • Security seller
  • Bodyguard
  • Unarmed guard
  • Monitoring centre operator
  • Security technician
  • Security trainers
  • Guard dog holders

Security licences are categorised according to the specific occupation.

There are three categories of security licence: Master, Class 1 and Class 2.

Although they are intended for different occupations, the criminal record requirements are the same for all three.

Can I get a security licence if I have a criminal record?

In NSW, security licences are administered by the Security Licensing and Enforcement Directorate of the NSW Police.

There are certain mandatory regulations the police have to abide by when they are assessing security licence applications.

If you have a criminal conviction for a ‘prescribed offence’ within the last 10 years, they must refuse your application.

Prescribed offences include:

  • Certain firearms or weapons offences
  • Most prohibited drug offences
  • Stalking or intimidation offences
  • Assault offences where there was a penalty of $200 or more fine imposed or even if you got a section 10 dismissal or conditional release order where it was considered a ‘serious’ assault.
  • Most fraud offences
  • Robbery
  • Affray
  • Some offences involving criminal groups

If you have committed one of the above offences, it is unlikely you will be able to obtain or keep your security licence.

Similarly, if you have been found guilty but had no criminal conviction recorded within the last five years, you will still not be allowed to hold a security licence.

What about other offences?

If you have a criminal conviction for other offences, you may still be refused on the grounds of not being considered a ‘fit and proper person’ to hold a security licence.

Common reasons for applicants failing the ‘fit and proper person’ test include having an AVO out against them or having previously had one, criminal convictions for other offences than the prescribed offences, and previous mental health problems.

It is up to the police to exercise their discretion under these circumstances, and decide whether or not to grant a security licence.

What should I do if I am facing criminal charges?

If you have been accused of a criminal offence, particularly if it is one of the prescribed offences and you are concerned about the loss of your employment or getting a licence as a result, it is a good idea to contact a criminal lawyer for advice.

In some cases, you may be able to get the charges reduced to a less serious offence, which may mean you are able to get or keep your licence and continue working.

If you work in a security occupation, being found guilty of a criminal offence, even if you are able to obtain a non conviction order, can have significant implications for your current and future employment prospects.

Make sure you get the best possible advice to help you minimise the repercussions from a criminal conviction.

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Ugur Nedim

Ugur Nedim

Ugur Nedim is an Accredited Criminal Law Specialist with 25 years of experience as a Criminal Defence Lawyer. He is the Principal of Sydney Criminal Lawyers®.

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