Definition of ‘restricted’ keys unresolved says licensing body

Responding to concerns raised by HAI that general key cutting services will fall within the scope of licensing, Jim O’Neill, Compliance-Inspectorate and Standards, Private Security Authority (PSA) said: “It is likely that most Hardware/DIY businesses will be covered by the third category of exclusions in paragraph 2.11 of the draft licensing requirements document as: ‘a person who copies keys for locking devices using a machine where the keys are duplicated from an existing key that is not a safe, strongroom or otherwise restricted key’.

The definitions of restricted keys are under consideration by the working group and any amendments will be notified in due course.” Mr O’Neill added: “I wish to thank HAI for its submission in response to the public consultation on the licensing of locksmiths. The working group established to develop the licensing requirements has considered the various submissions made and work on the licensing requirements continues. It is important to note that the licensing of locksmiths is a legislative requirement of the Private Security Services Act, 2004 (as amended) and the PSA is statutorily obliged to fulfil this legislative requirement.”

Acknowledging that the members of HAI provide their customers with an excellent and secure service, he commented: “The National Crime Prevention Unit of An Garda Síochána, which is represented on our working group, has identified numerous cases of keys being cut and, unbeknown to the cutter, being subsequently used in a crime. It is, therefore, important that the licensing of locksmiths be introduced as legislated for by the Oireachtas.” The aim of licensing is not to limit the availability of keycutting services, according to the PSA, but to ensure that those providing a licensable service are regulated. Jim O’Neill noted: “It is important to understand that the term ’licensed locksmith’ refers to a contractor licensed by the PSA. A contractor could be a locksmith but, equally, could be a hardware/DIY provider, builder, electrician or any other person who wants to provide a licensable service. Once they meet the licensing requirements, they may apply for a licence. Licences will not be limited to traditional locksmiths only.”