Before a person can work in the security industry, he or she must first obtain a security licence. Licence applicants must undergo extensive training and declare any past criminal history.

There are many grounds on which a licence can be refused, or revoked/suspended after it has been obtained.


Refusal or revocation of a security licence

A security licence can be suspended, refused or revoked for a variety of reasons set out under the Security Industry Act 1997. These include where the applicant, or license holder, is not a fit and proper person, or if the Commissioner of Police believes that it would be against the public interest for the applicant to hold a licence.

The commissioner must also revoke or refuse to grant a licence if the applicant has been convicted of a “prescribed offence”. Prescribed offences include:

  • Offences relating to firearms or weapons.
  • Offences relating to prohibited drugs.
  • Offences involving assault.
  • Offences relating to riot and affray.
  • Offences relating to terrorism and criminal groups.
  • Offences involving fraud, dishonesty, stealing or robbery.
  • Offences involving stalking or intimidation.

The Security Licensing & Enforcement Directorate (SLED) is responsible for carefully assessing each security licence application on behalf of the Commissioner of Police.


Defining “fit and proper person”

While there is no set definition of a fit and proper person, it will often include a consideration of the applicant’s:

  • Character and reputation.
  • Knowledge of, and ability to perform, their duties and responsibilities under the licence.
  • Moral integrity and honesty.


Defining “public interest”

The public interest consideration prioritises the interests of the community over the applicant. Issues beyond the character of the applicant are considered, including:

  • Public protection concerns.
  • Public safety.
  • Public confidence in the administration of the licensing system.


Appealing a refused or revoked security licence

If your security licence has been refused or revoked, you can seek a review of the decision. You have 28 days to make a written application for internal review, which will involve another SLED representative reviewing the decision to revoke or refuse your licence. The decision will either be confirmed, overturned or varied.

If the internal review is unsuccessful, an application can be made to the NSW Civil & Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) for administrative review. If you take your matter before NCAT, the Tribunal will review the facts of your matter and determine whether SLED made the correct and preferable decision.


Frequently Asked Questions

Can my licence be revoked even if I wasn’t convicted of the offence?

Yes – in specific circumstances. If in the last five years you were found guilty of a prescribed offence, but no conviction was recorded, the Commissioner must refuse to grant your licence, or if you are an existing licence holder, they must revoke your licence.

What happens if I breach a condition of my licence?

If you breach a condition of your licence, or a relevant provision under the Security Industry Act, your licence could be either suspended or revoked. In some situations, you may also have to pay a fine.

Can I get a security licence with a criminal record?

It depends what you were changed with, and when. If you were convicted of a prescribed offence in the last ten years, or found guilty of a prescribed offence in the last five years, then the Commissioner of Police must refuse your application.

If you have been found guilty of any other offence (i.e., not a prescribed offence), then your ability to get a security licence will depend on whether you are considered a “fit and proper person” to hold a licence despite your criminal record. The Commissioner of Police may consider the seriousness of the offence, when it took place, the circumstances, and your conduct since the offence.

How can we help?

We are experienced in representing clients who have had security licences revoked or refused, and we have a track record of successful appeals.

Book a free consultation or call us on 1300 668 484 for 24/7 legal advice.