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Security Licences (NT)

In the Northern Territory, a security licence authorises a person to undertake security guard work, crowd control, bodyguarding, guard training and investigative work. This work can involve risks to the public and their privacy. It is important that those who undertake this work are able to carry out their duties safely and within the constraints of the law. Security licences are regulated in the Northern Territory under the Private Security Act 1995. Licence holders must fulfil certain requirements to obtain and retain their licence. This article explains the process of obtaining a security licence in the Northern Territory and how to renew the licence or appeal a decision.

Security Licence in the Northern Territory

A person in the Northern Territory must have a licence to guard or patrol a property, control crowds, or act as a security officer in a public place, entertainment venue, private function, or licenced liquor venue. However, a person can secure a provisional licence to act as a security provider while they complete training. The Authority can also issue a conditional security licence to an applicant. In that case, the licensee must comply with these conditions or face penalties (100 penalty units for an individual and 500 penalty units for a corporation).

A person must complete a security training course before applying for a security licence in the Northern Territory. Training must be completed at a registered training organisation. A person who has a security licence issued in another jurisdiction can apply to receive jurisdictional recognition of their licence. A licence can last for up to three years before renewal.

In the Northern Territory, it is a regulatory offence for someone to perform security functions, or employ someone to perform these functions, without a security licence. The penalty for an infraction is 100 penalty units for an individual and 500 penalty units for a corporation.

Eligibility

An individual can obtain a security licence in the Northern Territory to work as a security officer, or a crowd controller (or a licence that authorises the applicant to work in either role). There is also a security licence specifically for security firms. A person must be at least eighteen years old to apply for a security licence in the Northern Territory. The applicant must not be bankrupt or suffer from an illness that makes them unsuitable to work in the industry. The person must be of good character, and not show dishonesty or a lack of integrity, a history of harassing behaviour, or a propensity to consort with criminals. An applicant must complete a fingerprint check with the NT police and receive security clearance through SAFE NT. This clearance includes searches for spent convictions. The applicant may not be granted a licence if the police report shows that they were charged or convicted of a disqualifying offence.

In addition to individuals, a company or partnership can apply for a security licence in the Northern Territory. In that case, a corporation must identify its officers, including the partner, director, executive officer, secretary, management and anyone who substantially influences company affairs. The applicant and all officers of the company must complete a police history check, pay the licence fee, and submit their application at a Territory Business Centre.

Disqualifying Offences

A person cannot hold a licence if they have been convicted of a disqualifying offence within the last ten years. A current holder of a licence who is charged with a disqualifying offence may have their licence suspended pending the outcome of the matter. A disqualifying offence is a serious offence listed in the Private Security Act. Specifically, these include serious drug and firearm offences and serious charges under the Criminal Code Act 1983.   

Ongoing Obligations

Licence holders in the Northern Territory must follow federal and Territory laws. Otherwise, they can be fined and have their licence suspended or cancelled. It is grounds for the suspension or cancellation of a security licence if the licensee:

  • Obtains the licence by providing misleading or incorrect information;
  • Contravenes a condition of the licence;
  • Commits a disqualifying offence; or
  • Is otherwise no longer an appropriate person to hold a security licence.

Security officers and crowd controllers also have codes of practice they must follow in order to retain their security licence. The best way to avoid a breach of the licence is to:

  • Carry the licence at all times while on duty. For crowd controllers, this means displaying a visible identification of their role on their clothing;
  • Sign a register when starting work and sign off when they finish;
  • Maintain an up-to-date first aid certificate;
  • Update the government within 30 days with new contact details; and
  • Inform the government immediately if they have been charged or convicted of a disqualifying offence.

Contact the Go To Court team on 1300 636 846 for legal advice on obtaining a security licence in the Northern Territory. Our experienced civil law solicitors can answer questions about disqualifying offences and help if your licence has been suspended.

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Author

Nicola Bowes

Dr Nicola Bowes holds a Bachelor of Arts with first-class honours from the University of Tasmania, a Bachelor of Laws with first-class honours from the Queensland University of Technology, and a PhD from The University of Queensland. After a decade of working in higher education, Nicola joined Go To Court Lawyers in 2020.
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