Investigations begin at Ilford college after undercover BBC sting discovers fraud

Ashley Commerce College, in Cranbrook Road, Ilford, pictured on the right

Ashley Commerce College, in Cranbrook Road, Ilford, pictured on the right - Credit: Archant

The “shocking” findings of an undercover sting into a college selling fraudulent security qualifications are being investigated.

Ashley Commerce College, in Cranbrook Road, Ilford, offered to “fast track” a BBC reporter, posing as an untrained student, to becoming a fully trained bodyguard in just “three hours”, instead of completing a four-day course.

Footage published by the BBC shows the security trainer reading out answers to exams and instructing the reporter to copy large parts of somebody else’s exam paper.

A security trainer is filmed telling the reporter he is doing 14 days training in one sitting.

The reporter is even asked to give some feedback on the course he never properly sat.

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Keith Vaz MP, chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, called the footage “a major scandal”.

He said: “It is one of the most shocking things I have seen in all the years I’ve chaired the Home Affairs Select Committee.”

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The exam board, Industry Qualifications (IQ), and Security Industry Authority (SIA) are now investigating the matter.

It has now been reported that 20 courses have been cancelled while investigations are being carried out.

A statement placed on Ashley Commerce College’s website by IQ read: “Following the BBC broadcast, IQ has been working with regulators Ofqual and the SIA to formulate a plan for identifying learners affected by the fraud.

“We do expect to find evidence that some learners have received their qualifications without having done their course or tests properly.

“These qualifications will be reviewed.

The statement also said every student who obtained an SIA licence through the college could be affected.

A Home Office spokesman confirmed to the Recorder any criminal behaviour would be addressed.

“The SIA can revoke or suspend the licence of any security officer if there is evidence of fraudulent activities,” he said.

“This includes cases where qualifications have been fraudulently acquired or where training has been undertaken does not meet the required specification.”

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