Police have highlighted a rising trend of unlicensed and unscrupulous individuals installing security systems into properties and have called for more property owners to do their due diligence when hiring installers.
Consumer Protection and the WA police force have called for people to use licensed security installers instead of considering unlicensed alternatives.
These installers, found on social media and platforms such as Gumtree, are installing security systems, cameras, security doors and locks, usually below market price, without property owners seeing if they are hiring licensed individuals.
In Western Australia, checks undertaken by the police through compliance and audits show that unlicensed security installers are prevalent in the marketplace, some of which have criminal records or are of interest to the police.
Over the last two years, there have been at least 50 unlicensed installers offering these services.
Properly licensed security installers in Western Australia have a security installer’s licence, issued by the licensing and enforcement division of the WA police force. These licences require individuals to either go through a training course or pass a test before they are allowed to submit an application.
Garry Kosovich, an inspector in the licensing enforcement division, has warned property owners to never employ an unlicensed security system installer.
“Those who do not hold a valid licence may not have undergone police or any other background checks to ensure they are of good character, so consumers may unwittingly be placing themselves, their family or their employees at great risk,” Mr Kosovich said.
“If criminals are involved, they will have intimate knowledge of the systems they are installing and know how to disable them in order to commit an offence.
“We need consumers and businesses to be aware of the licensing requirements and do checks before inviting these tradespeople into their home or business and, if approached by an unlicensed operator, they need to let police know immediately so we can be prosecute and remove them from the marketplace.”
Laine Chopping, commissioner for consumer protection, suggested that property owners do their due diligence and confirm they are dealing with properly licensed tradespeople before requesting their services.
“Don’t be tempted just by the cheapest price, make sure the tradesperson has the appropriate licence and is qualified to carry out the work,” Ms Chopping said.
“Get multiple quotes from reputable operators who have attracted positive reviews and have a good track record. Try to verify any claims by asking to see previous work and speaking to past clients.
“Tradespeople shouldn’t have any problem showing you their credentials or with you checking them out with the relevant licensing authority. If they do have a problem with this, you may be best to look elsewhere.”
In order to check that a tradesperson holds a valid licence, property owners can search the current licence holder list by visiting the WA police force website www.police.wa.gov.au.
If property owners feel like they may have accidentally employed the services of an unlicensed security installer, they should contact the WA police force licensing and compliance unit by emailing [email protected] or by calling 1300 171 011, while those who have had unresolvable issues with tradespeople can get in touch with consumer protection by emailing [email protected] or by calling 1300 304 054.