Internal Affairs warns security firm

WILLIAM MACE
Last updated 05:00 29/01/2013

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An Auckland security company working on events at Vector Arena and Eden Park has been given a warning by the Department of Internal Affairs.

The company, Platform 4 Group (P4G), and its director Aaron Colthurst - a former Police Armed Offenders Squad officer - were investigated by the DIA after a complaint was laid by managers of competing firm Darien Rush Security last January.

The complaint did not result in a prosecution but led to the first investigation into an alleged breach of the Private Security Personnel and Private Investigators Act 2010, which requires private law security firms to be licensed to do any security work, including crowd control.

Allegations P4G used links to another licensed operator for licensing purposes were "of concern", a DIA spokesman said yesterday, but the DIA had not asked P4G to discontinue the partnership with the other operator.

The DIA said it had issued a warning to P4G.

It said a decision on whether the arrangement was legal would now be in the hands of the Ministry of Justice through a licensing application hearing being held on February 5.

Complainant Darien Rush Security had held significant contracts with Eden Park, Vector and the Auckland Council in 2011 which its principal Darien Rush estimated to be worth about $3 million a year.

After publicity about Rush's attitude towards union-aligned workers in his organisation, and the prospect of a legal fight over the liquidation of another security company, he fell out of favour with customers and staff.

Colthurst established P4G after the Rugby World Cup and employed former Rush Security managers as well as picking up Rush's clients.

DIA chief investigator Debbie Despard said Colthurst had personally received a licence while its investigation was in progress and this had softened the department's concerns around his suitability to carry out security work.

Colthurst declined to comment but P4G is understood to be strongly contesting various issues that will be considered in its license application. Further details of the case are subject to a confidentiality order pending the licensing authority's decision.

Auckland Council said neither P4G nor the other licensed operator were providers to the council or its subsidiary companies.

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- BusinessDay.co.nz

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