Legal framework for the licensing and operation of security service providers
The main legal framework regulating the terms and conditions for the operation of private security service provision businesses in Greece is Law 2518/1997, as amended and completed by L. 3707/2008.
More specifically, according to article 1 of the aforementioned law, a private business for the provision of security services is the private business, either run by an individual or by a company, that provides to third parties one or more of the following services:
a) surveillance or guard of mobile or immobile assets and facilities,
b) protection of individuals,
c) secure transfer by special configured armored vehicles of money, antiquities, works of art and valuable items,
d) security for shows, exhibitions, conferences, competitions or sport events,
e) security control for crews, passengers, hand luggage, luggage, cargo and post material in airports and ports, as well as access control to the site and, in general, the facilities upon approval of the competent airport or port authority,
f) escort for the safe movement of vehicles transferring bulky or heavy objects, by special vehicle bearing the appropriate signs,
g) escort of sport missions, for their safe transport,
h) design of security policies and planning of measures for the safe implementation of the activities mentioned under points a) through g) above,
i) installation, maintenance and operation monitoring of security and alarm machinery and systems, apart from the ones installed in vehicles,
j) exploitation of centers for the reception, control and forwarding of alarm signals,
k) elaboration of studies and drafting of security systems concerning the activities described under points i) and j) and
l) security services provided by armed private guards on a Greek flagged ship, for the protection of the passengers, the ship and the cargo from attacks that are defined as “piracy”, according to definition of the term as described in articles 101 and 103 of the United Nations Agreement for Maritime Law.
To exercise one or more of the aforementioned activities, a special business operation license is necessary, which is issued by the Head of Staff of the Hellenic Police Headquarters, upon an opinion issued by a three-member committee, consisting of one Junior Member of the Legal Council Of the State (NSK), who along with his alternate is appointed by the President of Legal Council Of the State, the Head of the Department for the Fighting of Crime of the Direction for Public Safety and the Head of the Department for Guns and Explosives of the Direction for State Security of the Hellenic Police Headquarters or their legal alternates.
The operation license is granted, provided the applicant fulfills cumulatively the following conditions:
1. is a Greek citizen, or expatriate or citizen of member state of the European Union, provided that there is no impediment concerning public safety or public health,
2. has completed his 18th year of age,
3. has not been irrevocably sentenced to any kind of penalty for crimes concerning failure to report for military service, desertion, insulting the regime, state treason, insulting the free exercise of political rights, insulting the state authority, the crime of gender freedom and financial exploitation of the sexual life, criminal organization, terror acts, falsification, counterfeiting, forgery, service malversation, breaching of telephone and oral conversation privacy, theft, embezzlement, blackmail, fraud, malversation, offering or accepting bribery, drugs, animal theft, illicit market, crimes concerning guns and explosives, regardless if the sentence is mentioned on the applicants penal record or not,
4. has not been irrevocably sentenced to a prison penalty for more than six (6) months for crimes mentioned in article 7 of Law 2518/1997 and for any fraudulent crime,
5. is not been held in temporary custody and has not been irrevocably sent to trial for a felony or an act described under point 3 above or has not been sentenced with a final decision for a felony or an act as above (this impediment is valid until an irrevocable acquitting decision has been issued),
6. has not been deprived of his political rights, regardless of whether the period of this deprivation is over or not,
7. is not under judicial protection,
8. has not been fired from a public service, due to a disciplinary offence, concerning the offences described under point 3 as above,
9. is not a manufacturer or dealer of guns, ammunition or explosive material,
10. Does not suffer from any kind of mental illness and is not a user of illegal drugs.
If the license regards a corporation it will be issued for the name of this corporation. In case of a limited liability company, the abovementioned conditions must be met by each one of the members of the Board of Directors and their representatives, as well as for all shareholders holding or acquiring shares representing at least the 15% of the company’s share capital. The shares of such companies must be registered (nominal) shares.
The abovementioned condition must be met for each BD member and the company representatives of a company that holds shares representing at least 15% of the share capital of the limited liability company providing security services.
In case of limited liability companies, general or limited partnership companies, the abovementioned condition must be fulfilled by each and everyone participating party or administrator as well as by all members of the Board of Directors and by the representatives of any kind of companies participating with at least the 15% of the capital in the companies in question. It is noted that following any king of change of the legal form of any company, a new license must be issued.
The operation license granted may not be transferred, is valid for five (5) years and may be renewed for the same time period, provided that the conditions required for its original issuance are still being fulfilled. In case the application for the original issuance or renewal of a license for the provision of security services is rejected, the applicant may appeal before of the Hellenic Police Deputy chief within ten (10) days from the notification of the decision which rejects the application.
The businesses for providing security services, for which an operation license has been granted, must include in their name the phrase “private business for the provision of security services” and include in any document their license number.
Furthermore, article 4 of Law 2518/1997 provides for the following limitations concerning the action and operation of businesses providing security services:
– they are not allowed to use in their name, distinctive title, documentation, publicity and in general during the exercise of their activities any words or phrases in the Greek or any other language that may mislead the public that they are representing any public authority and especially a police authority,
– they are not allowed to use, mainly on cars and motorcycles, signs or colors that make their appearance same or similar to the appearance used by security forces, or bear appliances used for sound or light warning.
– during the exercise of their activities, they are not allowed to violate constitutional rights of citizens.
-they are not allowed to use means or methods that may cause damage, injury, inconvenience to third parties or put at risk the citizens’ security.
– they are not allowed to employ personnel that are not holders of the relevant working license.
Furthermore, according to the above article the businesses providing security services must:
-notify, within fifteen (15) days, the Hellenic Police Headquarters about any change concerning the conditions according to which their operation license has been issued and
– submit every month at the relevant police authority a list of the employees working in their jurisdiction.
Regarding the carriage of firearms by the employees of businesses providing security services, it is not permitted, according to the provisions of article 5 of Law 2518/1997, which explicitly states that it is forbidden for the representatives and employees of private businesses providing security services to carry and own firearms and other similar items.
However, if special security reasons occur the granting of a license for carrying firearms is allowed, under specific condition and following a special procedure, according to articles 5 and 6 of Law 2518/1997.
More specifically, according to article 5 the provision of a license for carrying a revolver or a pistol may be granted for:
a) the security staff of private businesses for the provision of security services that have undertaken the guarding of public establishments, banks, museums, abodes in need of special protection, public utility companies or other facilities of great value or importance, under the condition that the staff is carrying a gun that is lawfully owned by the instances this guarding is provided to.
b) the staff of private businesses for the provision of security services that have undertaken transfer of money, values and other object according to case γ of paragraph 1 of article 1, Law 2518/1997. In these cases the staff carries guns that are lawfully owned by the person or the institution which is being protected.
The conditions and documents required for granting a license for carrying a gun, owning a gun, importing, transferring and buying guns and ammunition, the conditions for the safekeeping of the guns and any relevant obligations, the issues concerning charging a gun to a staff member and canceling this charge, and any other necessary detail for the implementation of the provisions of the abovementioned article, as well as the maximum number of licenses for owning and carrying a gun and owning ammunition per private business for the provision of security services are subject to a decision of the Minister for Internal Affairs (article 5, par. 6, Law 2518/1997).
Regarding the implementation of the above mentioned provision a Ministerial Decision has been issued with number 101/2009 (M.D. 1016/109/121-ιβ Government Gazette B’ 1510 2009) issued by the Deputy Minister for Internal Affairs “regarding the conditions and the procedure for granting a license to import, transfer, buy and own gun for private businesses for providing security services and for carrying a gun by the staff of these businesses”.
According to the above mentioned Decision, private businesses for providing security services may be granted a license to import, transfer, buy and own firearms (revolvers or pistols) upon a license granted by the competent police authority. These licenses are issued in the name of the person who owns the business operation license, if the following conditions are met:
1. The business owns the necessary operation license.
2. The business has signed contracts with third parties for the provision of services regarding the safe transfer by specially configured, armored vehicles of money, shares, antiquities, works of art and valuable items.
3. The applicant does not fall under the restricting provisions of article 18, Law 2168/1993, is not evading court appearance or court sentence, is not sent to trial for any crime under Law 2168/1993 or any other crime falling under the restricting provisions of the same law. It is noted, that if the application for the licenses is submitted by a company the conditions mentioned in this paragraph must be met for each and every one member as set by paragraph 2, article 2 Law 2518/1997.
The number of guns (pistols or revolvers) and ammunition each Security Business is allowed to carry is determined as follows:
a) for Businesses active across the Greek territory, up to 30 firearms.
b) for Businesses legally seated in the Prefecture of Attika or Thessaloniki and are active within the limits of these prefectures, up to 20 and 14 firearms respectively.
c) for Businesses legally seated in all other Greek prefectures and are active within the limits of these prefectures, up to 6 guns.
d) for Businesses legally seated in one Greek prefecture, except from Attica and Thessaloniki, and are also active in neighboring prefectures, up to 8 firearms.
e) up to 50 bullets per firearm.
Businesses for the provision of security services and their employees during the exercise of their activities fall under the supervision and control of the competent local police authorities and must comply to their suggestions.
The breach of the abovementioned provisions of Law 2518/1997 may lead to criminal or administrative sanctions and may even lead to the revocation of the operation license issued by the competent authority.
Decision number 1016/109/121-ι’ of 05.08.2009 issued by the State Secretary of Internal Affaires (Official Gazette Β’ 1710/19.08.2009) specifies the documents required for the issue of an operation license for a Private Business Providing Security Services, owned by a corporation (Limited Liability, General Partnership and Limited Partnership Companies).
DOCUMENTATION REQUIRED FOR CORPORATION SΑ.
DOCUMENTATION SUBMITTED BY THE COMPANY’S LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE
1. Application for acquiring an operation license
On a special form provided by the competent Service, which shall contain all relevant details –applicants’ identity card data, company’s name and corporate seat, Tax Registration Number, competent tax authority, activities that will be undertaken.
2. Certificate for the “initiation of activities”, issued by the competent tax authority or a copy authenticated by a tax authority.It must mention, the name, legal seat and the activities, as provided by article 1§1 of Law 2518/1997, as amended and completed by Law 3707/2008.
3. Receipt proving the payment of the relevant fee
(for General of Limited Partnership Companies: 293,00 €, for Limited and Limited Liability Companies: 587,00 €)
4. Any (authenticated) document proving the lawful use of the facilities serving as the company’s corporate seat, e.g. acquisition or lease contract etc. (authenticated).In case of an ex gratia concession of the facilities, necessary are both a copy of the proprietary title of the owner and a declaration by owner determining the time period of the concession. If the ex gratia concession does not involve a time limited and the ex gratia concession has a permanent character, a notary act is necessary (according to articles 810, 496 and 498 of the Civil Code).
5. Authenticated photocopy of the document proving the applicants’ identity details.
For Greek citizens: Identity card or relevant temporary certificate by the competent authority or passport or drivers license or personal welfare booklet by any public insurance institution.
Citizens of EU member states: Identity card or passport.Expatriates: Special Expatriate Identity Card or relevant certificate issued by the competent Authority. For any change of identity details an authenticated statutory declaration must be submitted.
6. A statutory declaration of article 8, Law 1599/1986 by which the applicant declares that:
Fulfills the conditions stated in subparagraphs στ΄, η΄ and θ΄ of article 2§1 of law 2518/1997, as valid at any given time.Is not being held in temporary custody or has not been irrevocably sent to trial for a felony or an act mentioned in case γ΄ of article 2§1, Law 2518/1997, as valid at any given time and has not been sentenced, even if it is by a final decision, for a felony or an offence under case γ΄ of paragraph 1 of the abovementioned article.Has not been irrevocably sentenced to imprisonment for more than six (6) months for crimes of article 8 of Law 2518/1997 and for any crime of deceit.
7. Certificate Issued by a State Hospital, by a specialized Psychiatrist, stating that the applicant is not suffering by any kind of mental illness and is not a narcotics user, bearing a date not older than three months compared to submission date.
8. In case the business does not intend to use a company uniform for its guards: Statutory declaration (authenticated) of Law 1599/1986.
In case the business intends to use a company uniform for its guards: Certification by the committee of article 9, Law 1342/1938 (GG A’ 290/09.08.1938), stating that the type of uniform has been approved. This committee consists of high-grade officers of Army, Navy, Air force and Police Staff, that are appointed by the competent Ministers, and the approvals and opinions issued by this committee are always validated by the Heads of Staff of the Military, the Navy, the Air-force and the Police. Member of this Committee is also a representative of the competent Minister, who is asked to issue an opinion according to the above. Chairman of the committee is the officer with the higher grade, or if more than one has the same grade the senior.
9. Copy of the approved and publicized company’s statute of association. More specifically:
Limited Liability Companies (ΑΕ) and limited companies (ΕΠΕ) along with the (authenticated) statute of association must also submit the relevant issue of the Greek Official GazetteGeneral Partnership Companies (Ο.Ε.) and Limited Partnership Companies (Ε.Ε.) must submit the (authenticated) statute of association, approved by the competent First Instance Court.
10. Especially for limited liability companies a certification is required issued by the competent Prefectural Authority, stating the nominalization of all its shareholders, as well as which of the shareholders hold shares representing a percentage higher than fifteen percent (15%) of the share capital.
Β. DOCUMENTATION OBTAINED BY THE AUTHORITY (WITHOUT THE APPLICANT HAVING TO PRODUCE THEM)
(In case they are submitted voluntarily by the applicant himself, the date of issue must not be older than three months from the submission date)
1. Copy of the criminal record FOR JUDICIAL USE.
2. Certificate by a First Instance Court stating that he is not under judicial custody.
1. The documents mentioned under points (5) to (7) of paragraph A, and the documents of paragraph B retrieved ex officio must be submitted for each one of the persons according to par. 2, of article 2 Law 2518/1997, who must fulfill the conditions according to the provisions of par. 1, of the same article, of Law 2518/1997.
That is to say: a) for limited liability companies, the abovementioned documents must be submitted for each and every one member of the Board of Directors and by all shareholders holding or acquiring shares representing at least 15% of the company’s capital, and for all members of the Board of Directors and company representatives of any companies participating with at least 15 percent to the share capital of the company providing the security services and
b) for limited partnership or general partnership companies the abovementioned documents must be submitted for each member and administrator, as well as for all members of the Board of directors and the representatives of any kind of company that participates with at least 15% of the capital in the abovementioned companies.It is noted that following any kind of change of the legal form of any company, a new license must be issued.
2. The certification of initiation of activities by the competent tax authority and the company’s Articles of Association must bear the phase “Private Business for the Provision of Security Services”.
3. In companies with the participation –as parties, administration, representatives of member of the Board of Directors) of citizens of EU member states where the relevant documents are not issued by the competent (Judicial) Authorities, the applicants must submit a document by a competent Public Authority of their country confirming this fact. Texts or documents issued in a foreign language must be submitted in a translated version.