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Is a patched Head Hunter a suitable person to work as a security guard?

Jeremy Wilkinson,
Publish Date
Sat, 24 Feb 2024, 12:16PM
(Photo / NZ Herald).
(Photo / NZ Herald).

Is a patched Head Hunter a suitable person to work as a security guard?

Jeremy Wilkinson,
Publish Date
Sat, 24 Feb 2024, 12:16PM

Is a patched member of the Head Hunters motorcycle gang suitable to work as a security guard? 

That’s the question a licensing authority was posed recently when considering an application by one of the gang’s members to join the ranks of the country’s security professionals. 

It was an application that was opposed heavily by police who noted that the gang’s first rule is to never assist officers in any inquiry or investigation against friend or foe. 

While the aspiring security worker, who was only identified as Mr FB, believed he would be able to put his responsibilities as a Certificate of Authority holder above those of the gang, adjudicator Kate Lash, of the Private Security Personnel Licensing Authority, disagreed. 

“I accept the police evidence as to the way the Head Hunters operate. As such, I find it most likely that should they tell Mr FB that he had to undertake an activity that suited them but was in conflict with the laws of New Zealand or his employment, or even his moral compass, that he would have to do it. 

“This is by no means a criticism of Mr FB, it is more a reflection on the gang’s tactics and capabilities.” 

Lash also noted that Mr FB had said his allegiances lay with his whanau and his mahi but he had not yet chosen to renounce his membership to the Head Hunters despite it being the only factor standing in the way of his chosen career. 

Mr FB has been working in security for the last few months and had quickly risen to the position of team leader with his current employer. 

He told the authority that the role fulfils him and provides him with a sense of purpose and mana as well as a team that gives him both brotherhood and support. 

At a hearing held earlier this year Mr FB explained that he joined the Head Hunters when he was young and was seeking community and he had never been involved in the criminal side of the gang. 

He had a number of supporters at the hearing as well as multiple references speaking to his good character. 

He also mentioned that he had demonstrated his ability to be impartial when he had recently had to remove a fellow Head Hunter from a bar where he was working as security. 

By contrast the police, who opposed the man obtaining a Certificate of Approval, said the values of the gang directly contradicted those a professional security worker needs. 

Sergeant Chris Mcleod said the Head Hunters encouraged criminal behaviour, were proud of breaking laws, demanded members obey their rules ahead of the actual law, and there were repercussions for those who tried to leave. 

Adjudicator Lash said it was a difficult decision for her because Mr FB had many positive attributes and was “an impressive young man”. 

She said that he had proven himself and the security industry needed more people like him. 

However, she said he couldn’t be a gang member and a security guard at the same time. 

“Being a patched member of a gang such as the Head Hunters is inconsistent with the character and background requirements of the act,” she said. 

“Having patched gang members working in security at clubs and pubs can not only facilitate illegal activity but can compromise the safety of their employers as well as the public due to the ongoing disturbances between the gangs in the city.” 

Lash made it clear that the man had a choice. 

“Were it not for Mr FB’s patched status, on the information I have available to me I would be more than satisfied of his capabilities as a security worker. It appears that he could go far in this industry,” she said. 

“Therefore, should Mr FB surrender his patch and renounce his affiliations with the gang, a further application for a COA by him is likely to be considered differently.” 

Jeremy Wilkinson is an Open Justice reporter based in Manawatū covering courts and justice issues with an interest in tribunals. He has been a journalist for nearly a decade and has worked for NZME since 2022. 

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