Security Licences - Loss and Revocation

Disclaimer: This article is intended to provide a summary and general overview only. It is not intended to be, nor does it constitute, legal advice. You should seek legal advice from a barrister or solicitor working in the area of employment, criminal and/or human rights law before acting or relying on any of its content.

Are you a security guard or company that has lost their security licence?

The granting, regulation and revocation of security licenses in New South Wales is governed by the Security Industry Act 1997.

Section 26 of that Act sets out the circumstances in which a security licence may be revoked. It reads as follows:

(1) A licence may be revoked:(b) if the licensee:

(i) supplied information that was (to the licensee’s knowledge) false or misleading in a material particular in, or in connection with, the application for the licence or the renewal of the licence, or

(ii) contravenes any provision of this Act or the regulations, whether or not the licensee has been convicted of an offence for the contravention, or

(iii) contravenes any condition of the licence, or

(d) for any other reason prescribed by the regulations.

(1A) The Commissioner must revoke a licence where the Commissioner is satisfied that, if the licensee were applying for a new licence, the application would be required by this Act to be refused.

(2) The Commissioner may revoke a licence by serving on the licensee, personally or by post, a notice stating that the licence is revoked and the reasons for revoking it.

(3) The revocation of a licence by such a notice takes effect when the notice is served or on a later date specified in the notice.

Note: Section 31 requires the licensee to immediately surrender the licence if the licence is revoked.

(4) The Commissioner may, by serving a further notice on the holder of a licence, cancel a notice revoking a licence before the notice takes effect.

(5) For the purpose of determining whether a licence should be revoked under subsection (1A), the Commissioner may have regard to any criminal intelligence report or other criminal information held in relation to the licensee that:

(a) is relevant to the activities carried on under the class of licence held by the licensee, or

(b) causes the Commissioner to conclude that improper conduct is likely to occur if the licensee continues to hold the licence, or

(c) causes the Commissioner not to have confidence that improper conduct will not occur if the licensee continues to hold the licence.

(6) The Commissioner is not, under this or any other Act or law, required to give any reasons for revoking a licence if the giving of those reasons would disclose the existence or content of any criminal intelligence report or other criminal information as referred to in subsection (5).

In practice, the most common reason for revocation of a security licence is that the licensee has been charged and/or found guilty of a criminal offence (e.g. affray, common assault, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, assault occasioning grievous bodily harm or a firearms or drug offence). Licence revocation is mandatory in such circumstances. The Commissioner of Police also has a discretion to revoke the security licence of persons who are not fit and proper to hold such a licence, or if he or she thinks that it is in the public interest to revoke the licence of a person.

What can I do if the police revoke my licence?

If your license has been revoked you can:

  • Lodge an internal review, requesting that the Commissioner of Police re-consider their decision to revoke your licence; and

  • In the event that an internal review is unsuccessful, seek administrative review of the revocation in the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal. This will take place at a hearing involving oral argument between the parties.

© 2017 Sebastian De Brennan. Barrister at Law