The SIA (Security Industry Authority)'s incompetence knows no bounds; it has issued up to 5000 licences to illegal immigrants and persons without work visas. To make matters worse, many of the 'licensed' guards have been guarding The Home Office and Scotland Yard and one was even employed to guard Tony Blair's ministerial car. The SIA say it is not their fault - they only check on previous criminal history.You would have thought that they would include criminal records from the applicant's country of origin and any previous addresses. Sack the head of the SIA immediately for gross incompetence! Then go and stand in the dole queue with Sir Ian Blair, the Head of the Metropolitan Police who, we discover, allegedly did not know that several thousand American Express cards which had been given to Police officers have been used to purchase televisions and holidays instead of the travel and hotel bills they were intended for (when the officers were on Police cases).
I had the great pleasure of travelling on the new Eurostar from St Pancras to Brussels recently. The train itself was very quick but the security queue to get onto it was a bit long. Considering this was the first day I was disappointed that the station was not really finished - the shops were all covered with hoardings and not open. There were long lines to get through the airport style x - ray machines and then through Passport Control.
The train was full of merry and drunk train nerds and the long walk from the carriage to the buffet car was like a ten mile hike. Once in Brussels, however, it was a quick off, scan of passport and away to the taxi rank which has a security person marshalling the passengers - well organised and polite.
A detective agency in Spain which has been looking for Maddy is convinced she is alive and was taken by paedophiles. I think the paedophile view is absolutely right but I am not sure I believe that she is still alive. Paedophiles are opportunists and I believe that, had they seen the little girl playing and watched the family routine, they would have realised that the children were left on their own in the apartment at night. It only takes a minute to take a child and spirit him or her away and this is what I believe happened to Maddy. I pray that I am wrong but, if she has been taken by paedophiles, my experience tells me she will be mentally scarred for life.
As I write, it's almost that time of year again when present buying and Yule Tide greetings abound. Remember to keep windows and doors locked when you rush out for that last minute pressie or the double cream you forgot. Do not leave presents out on show or, worse still, in the back of your car on view. Lock all valuables in the boot of your car.
There are some great books out at the moment either for a little reading pleasure of your own or to give as a present. Chris Ryan's Strike Force is now out in paperback, plus Chris Davey's new Turner's Defence (the third in the Turner's Log series), Peter Bleksley's Ten Most Wanted and The CIrcuit by moi of course.
I'm hoping to learn to ski this (new) year - currently something I do very badly. In fact the only good thing I can do in the snow is throw snowballs, so stand by for news of my sore backside and fed up ski instructor!
New Surveilance and Close Protection courses start in January so look on the web site www.greymans.com for dates if you wish to do a course.
Let's all remember the service personnel who will not be home for Christmas and New Year as they try to keep peace in the Middle East and the emergency services at home who will turn out over the holidays for the normal domestic disputes, road accidents and Christmas tree fires. Thanks to you all for your unselfish sacrifices as we move into 2008.
I wish you all a happy holiday and a peaceful New Year. Until February, thanks for reading my column and many thanks for all your emails: please keep them coming.