Consumer Protection and the WA Police Force are alarmed at the high number of incidents of home owners utilising the services of unlicensed security installers, and may be unknowingly inviting criminals into their home.
These possibly dodgy businesses and individuals advertise their services on websites such as Gumtree as well as on social media, offering to install alarm systems, CCTV cameras, security doors and locks, often at below market prices.
Instead of hiring tradespeople who are qualified to carry out such work, consumers and businesses are putting the security of their home and premises at risk by not checking if these individuals or businesses are licensed by the WA Police Force.
Checks carried out by Police as part of their compliance and audit process reveal that there are many unlicensed operators in the marketplace who are unqualified, have a criminal record or are persons of interest to Police. More than 50 unlicensed operators have been identified advertising their services in the past two years.
In WA, people who provide installation, repair or maintenance services for security alarm or CCTV systems, security doors or locks are required to hold a Security Installer’s Licence issued by the Licensing and Enforcement Division of the WA Police Force.
To obtain a Security Installer’s Licence, a person is required to complete either a training course or pass a pre-licence test, depending of the type of licence, prior to submitting an application form.
Inspector Garry Kosovich of the Licensing Enforcement Division, warns the community to never employ a security system installer without checking that they have a licence that is current.
“Those who do not hold a valid licence may not have undergone police or any other background checks to ensure they are of good character, so consumers may unwittingly be placing themselves, their family or their employees at great risk,” Insp. Kosovich said.
“If criminals are involved, they will have intimate knowledge of the systems they are installing and know how to disable them in order to commit an offence.
“We need consumers and businesses to be aware of the licensing requirements and do checks before inviting these tradespeople into their home or business and, if approached by an unlicensed operator, they need to let Police know immediately so we can be prosecute and remove them from the marketplace.”
Commissioner for Consumer Protection Lanie Chopping advised people to do their homework before inviting unknown tradespeople into their homes or business premises.
“Don’t be tempted just by the cheapest price, make sure the tradesperson has the appropriate licence and is qualified to carry out the work,” Ms Chopping said.
“Get multiple quotes from reputable operators who have attracted positive reviews and have a good track record. Try to verify any claims by asking to see previous work and speaking to past clients.
Tradespeople shouldn’t have any problem showing you their credentials or with you checking them out with the relevant licensing authority. If they do have a problem with this, you may be best to look elsewhere.
This warning also applies to builders who employ tradespeople to install security systems in new homes.”
If you are concerned that an unlicensed security agent may have completed work at your home, contact the WA Police Force Licensing and Compliance Unit by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 1300 171 011.
Consumers who experience problems with tradespeople and are having difficulty resolving them, can contact Consumer Protection by emailing email@example.com or by calling 1300 304 054.