Extension of the Age Limit for Category B Security Personnel Permit
1. When will the relaxation of age limit for the Category B Security Personnel Permit (“SPP”) take effect? What are the details?
The new policy has taken effect since 18 December 2015 via gazettal. Its three major parts are:
(1) to revise the upper age limit for the Category B SPP from 65 to 70;
(2) to introduce a medical check requirement: an applicant aged 65 or above is required to produce a medical certificate to demonstrate his fitness for the job at the time of application and to submit such certificate thereafter every two years, whereas a permit holder reaching the age of 65 during the SPP validity period is required to submit a medical certificate when he/she reaches 65 and thereafter every two years; and
(3) to make the medical check requirement a criterion that must be satisfied by an applicant and a standard condition for permit issuance.
2. Due to the previous age limit, some current Category B SPP holders will have their permits expired when they reach their 65th birthday. Will their permits be automatically renewed upon relaxation of the policy?
No, they will not. Although an SPP is usually valid for 5 years, most existing Category B SPP holders approaching the age of 65 will have their permits expired on their 65th birthday (i.e. less than 5 years) due to the previous age limit. They have to apply to the Licensing Office of the Police (“PLO”) for renewal within 3 to 6 months before their SPPs are due to expire if they want to perform Category B security work after permit expiry.
3. Some current SPP holders are allowed to perform both Category A and Category B security work, with the validity going beyond and expiring at the age of 65 respectively. If such holders wish to continue to perform Category B security work after reaching 65, do they need to apply for new permits?
Yes, they do. The validity of Category B SPPs will not be extended automatically upon policy change. If a permit holder wishes to continue to perform Category B security work after expiry of his/her current permit, he/she has to apply from the PLO for a new one within 3 to 6 months before permit expiry.
4. Upon implementation of the new policy, the PLO has issued a new permit format (Pol. 1080A). Is the old one (Pol. 1080) still valid?
The old format (Pol. 1080) remains valid within the period as specified on the permit but the validity will not be automatically extended as a result of the new policy.
5. Upon implementation of the new policy, how long will it take for a retired Category B SPP holder who has reached 65 to re-apply for a new permit?
Since there may be a substantial number of new applications upon implementation of the new policy, the PLO will relocate resources to expedite the processing of all applications so that applicants could benefit from the relaxation and engage in Category B security work as early as possible. Normally, an application can be processed within 6 to 10 working days if all necessary documents are provided with the application. In order to facilitate and expedite processing, applications should be sent by post as far as possible.
6. How to obtain a medical certificate for a medical check?
An applicant or a permit holder may obtain a standard medical examination form from the PLO or its website for completion by any local registered medical practitioner after the examination to certify that the he/she is fit to perform security work.
7. When should a permit holder submit a medical certificate?
According to the “Conditions for issuing a Security Personnel Permit”, a permit holder should submit a medical certificate:-
(i) within the 3-month period prior to his/her 65th birthday if he/she reaches 65 during the validity period, and thereafter every two years; or
(ii) within the 3-month period from 1 year and 9 months to 2 years following permit issuance if he/she is 65 years of age or above at the time of application and has submitted such a certificate then, and then two years afterward.
8. How long before submission of the medical certificate should a medical check be done?
An applicant who reaches the age of 65 or a permit holder who is due to submit his/her medical certificate should, within 4 months prior to the date of such submission (See Question 7), arrange to have a medical check and a medical certificate issued by a registered medical practitioner.
9. Under the new policy, what are the penalties for failure to submit medical certificates (medical check reports)?
The requirement of submitting medical certificates has been made one of the conditions for SPP issuance. Pursuant to sections 10 and 31 of the Security and Guarding Services Ordinance (“SGSO”), any person who contravenes the SPP conditions is liable on conviction to a maximum fine of $10,000 and to imprisonment for 3 months.
10. Will the Police remind permit holders to submit medical check reports on time?
The PLO will issue reminder to permit holders of the need to submit medical certificate before the due date and issue warning after the due date. Only if the permit holder fails to respond will the Police consider conducting investigation or instituting prosecution.
11. Will the PLO, when informing SPP holders of the requirement to submit medical certificates (medical check reports), notify their employers as well?
No, it will not. Submission of medical certificates has been made one of the conditions for issuing SPPs. Submission of medical certificates (medical check reports) according to the SPP conditions is therefore the responsibility of permit holders.
12. Will the Police apply to the Security and Guarding Services Industry Authority (“SGSIA”) for revoking the SPP of a holder for his/her failure to submit a medical certificate (medical check report)?
Pursuant to section 18 of the SGSO, if in the opinion of the Commissioner of Police (“the Commissioner”) that an SPP holder is no longer a fit and proper person to hold the permit, he may apply to the SGSIA for revocation or suspension of the SPP.
When considering if a holder is a fit and proper person and whether or not to invoke the mechanism under section 18 to revoke his/her SPP, the Commissioner will make a holistic consideration. The medical certificate (medical check report) is one of the reference factors. Other key factors for consideration include good character (e.g. criminal record) and employment history of the permit holder.
13. Will an SPP holder’s failure to pass a medical check result in immediate invalidation of his/her SPP?
If an SPP holder is confirmed by a medical certificate (medical check report) to be physically unfit for security work, it will not result in automatic invalidation of his/her permit. However, if the Commissioner considers that the holder is no longer a fit and proper person to hold the permit, he may apply to the SGSIA for revocation of the permit under section 18 of the SGSO.
14. Who is responsible to pay for the medical certificate fee, the employer or the employee?
It is the responsibility of a security guard to apply for an SPP to perform security work. Legally speaking, he/she as the applicant should pay the relevant fees (including the application and medical certificate fees).
15. Upon relaxation of the policy, is it necessary for a retired holder of a Category B SPP aged over 65 to re-sit and pass a trade test or course-end examination of a security training course to satisfy the requirements for re-application for a Category B SPP?
As with other applicants, a retired Category B SPP holder aged over 65 has to meet the criteria for SPP issuance before he/she is issued with such a permit by the Commissioner. Under the current criteria, an applicant shall satisfy the requirement on “Proficiency in Security Work”. Such requirement can be satisfied in several ways, such as having sat and passed a trade test recognised by the SGSIA within 1 year before submitting his/her application; or having taken a training course endorsed by the SGSIA and passed a course-end examination within 1 year before submitting his/her application; or having not less than 3 years of cumulative working experience in performing security work over the past 5 years immediately before submitting his/her application; or having not less than 1 year of cumulative working experience in performing security work over the past 2 years immediately before submitting his/her application.
16. What are the charges for an SPP application?
The application fee for an SPP application is $50, which is non-refundable irrespective of the outcome of the application. If the application is successful, a permit fee of $110 has to be paid for issuing an SPP. For administrative convenience, a total of $160 covering both application fee and permit fee will be collected upon application. If the application is unsuccessful, the permit fee of $110 will be refunded to the applicant by a mailed cheque.
Applicants may apply for more than one type of SPPs, for instance, Category A and B SPPs, in one go. Irrespective of the number of types being applied, a standardised fee, i.e. $160, will be charged for each application.
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