Security Industry to Review Vetting after Report on Murder Suspect
Terri Judd; Tom Peck, The Independent (London, England)
Case of Daniel Fitzsimons highlights need for change
The private security industry regulator has promised to tighten vetting practices after The Independent revealed that the man accused of shooting dead two fellow security contractors in Iraq had a long history of psychiatric illness, was awaiting trial for assault and had previously been sacked by another private security company.
The Government has recently held a six-month consultation into the multi-million dollar private security industry - which boomed in the early days of the Iraq conflict leading to concerns about the number of unregulated companies - and is expected to report back later this year, recommending self regulation with international cooperation to raise standards.
Andy Bearpark, the director general of the British Association of Private Security Companies (BAPSC) said one of the matters being considered was vetting procedures. "This case will draw this review into sharp focus," he said. "At the moment every company has different procedures. Common sense tells us that there should be standard procedure."
Mr Fitzsimons, 29, who is currently facing charges of murder and execution if found guilty, is as much a victim as the dead men, say his family, because he had documented psychiatric problems following combat duties with the British Army. He had also had a criminal record and been sacked for "extreme negligence" by Aegis, another security company.
ArmorGroup, the company who hired Mr Fitzsimons, said in a statement yesterday that it would not comment on individual cases but maintained that it has, "strong vetting and screening policy and processes in place". It claims that these procedures include: "Assessing applicants' backgrounds and likely resilience to stress in the recruiting process to ensure that those employed will be resilient on account of prior active service and an independent medical report that candidates are obliged to provide. …