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January 2011 | Lindsay Clark
The Scottish government has promised to ban
“cowboy” security firms bidding for work in the social housing sector.
Housing and communities minister in Scotland Alex
Neil said deals to guard building sites would only be awarded to firms that are
members of the UK Security IndustryAuthority approved contractors' scheme.
The new rule extends the ban, already in place on
Scottish government building projects, to those of housing associations and
other recipients of affordable housing grants. This year the Scottish
government is providing £502 million to the social housing construction sector.
"We are slamming the door on rogue security
firms,” Neil said in a statement. "We want them off our building sites and
off our streets. Police tell us that some firms providing 'security' are no
more than fronts for organised crime. They use cash from these contracts to
bankroll their trails of misery of drug dealing and violence.
"They should have no hiding place in Scotland
- least of all siphoning from budgets which help the most vulnerable people who
need social housing. More often than not, they are the main victims of these
Justice secretary Kenny McAskill said: "Each
and every one of us can play a part in the fight against series and organised
crime. For those of us in Government, that means ensuring that the contracts we
award go only to bone fide companies.”