Like many other businesses, Michael Sloan’s security business suffered because of the COVID pandemic. Mike couldn’t run his security training school during the COVID restrictions, as his business provides training “face to face”. Then he got hit with a double whammy after suffering a major heart attack which resulted in him being hospitalised for several weeks.
While in hospital, and after putting into renew his licences, Mike received notices of suspension of his firearms and security licences from the Licensing & Regulation Division (LRD) of Victoria Police, stating “there may be grounds” to cancel his licences. The letters stated that the LRD was ‘not satisfied that it is in the public interest’ for him to hold the licences or that he met the probity requirements of being a ‘fit and proper person’.
Why the LRD decided this is not clear: Mike did not do anything that would be of concern to them.
After leaving hospital, the LRD visited Mike's business to go through its books with him. Officers noted that he had not been trading for a period of time, which he explained was because he was in hospital and limited by the COVID restrictions, to which their response was "too bad, so sad".
Then, in early November, the LRD sent Mike notices of cancellation of his security training business and firearm licences.
Mike is still a licensed Victoria Police Firearms/Security Industry Instructor and authorised Victoria Police Firearms Safety course Instructor. He just can’t do this running his own business or use his “tools of the trade” (the businesses firearms). It is the licences for these that the LRD took away from him
Legal issues – security industry
It appears to us that the LRD took it upon itself to use the renewal process to determine that his business wasn’t ‘financially viable’ during that period.
The fact he had been sidelined due to hospital and COVID were clearly sound explanations that didn't matter to them.
We will have more to say on ‘financial viability’ below, but it is clearly a bad sign for the security industry when its regulator who should be looking to have policies which facilitates the industry it regulates and affords 'fair legal process', kicks "a good guy when he is down".
The question of financial viability only comes up under the Private Security Act 2004 when a person is ‘granted’ a security licence the first time around. Mr Sloan already had his licence, which raises three legal questions that we want answered:
1. Does the LRD have the legal authority to review the financial viability of an agent after the licence is granted? Given the way the Act is worded, we seriously doubt it.
2. Given the term financial viability is not defined in the Act, what does it mean and who should decide that? If it means – as the LRD seems to be suggesting - losing money at some point in time, then most businesses would be in trouble at any given time, especially during the COVID lockdowns.
3. Why was fair legal process not afforded? The LRD knew Mike had been in hospital, and dismissed his situation as "too bad, so sad".
What the funds will be used for?
We've already filed legal proceedings at the Firearms Appeals Committee and Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal to help Mike get his handgun and businesses licences back.
Help us STOP Victoria Police targeting shooters - and help us put some boundaries on what 'fit and proper' means to help shooters in Victoria and elsewhere keep the licences they have fought hard to get.
Want to know more?
More information on Mike's fight can be seen on our website by clicking here .
- Andrew Olive
- Dave Mcloughlin
- Wayne Trenning
- Tianyi Wei
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