Establishing and maintaining a private security business means complying with strict rules and regulations. In short, you, and every employee you hire, must have the relevant training and qualifications to carry out your jobs to get a Security Industry Authority licence (SIA).
SIA licensing is the most important accreditation you will need when starting your private security company in the UK. As an employer, it is your responsibility to ensure your staff are fully qualified and hold an up-to-date SIA licence for their role. However, it is not your responsibility to organise training for your staff.
What is the SIA?
The SIA was established as a non-departmental public body in 2003 and reports to the Home Secretary.
What Are the Roles of the SIA?
The SIA has two main roles:
- To regulate compulsory licensing of individuals who undertake designated activities within private security.
- To manage a voluntary ‘Approved Contractor Scheme.’ This measures private security service businesses by putting in place a system of inspection and stringent criteria for providers of security services to meet.
What are the SIA Requirements?
Before obtaining SIA licensing and since the introduction of the Private Security Industry Act (2001) all security operatives need special training and qualifications.
This ensures that those working within private security are the right people for the job and that they are properly trained and qualified.
There will need to be proof of adequate qualification in the area of security your company will provide.
This can be fulfilled by completion of a training course and by earning an SIA-approved qualification.
How long the training last depends on what qualification you require for your area of private security. There are written specifications for each qualification in order to help the process.
How Do We Know if We Need an SIA Licence?
Whether the individual requires a licence or not is determined by that defined under the terms of the Private Security Industry Act (2001) regarding:
- “the role that is performed”
- “the activity that is undertaken.”
For instance, some security operatives do not require SIA licensing to work:
In house security Someone who is employed directly by a business. For example, a store detective in a department store, employed directly by the store to prevent crimes such as shoplifters. These DO NOT require a licence to work.
Contracted security. You are employed by a security company and contracted out to clients. For example, a bank hires a private security company to carry and transport cash. These DO need a Security Industry Authority Licensing to work.
PLEASE NOTE: It is illegal to work without an SIA licence if in a role that requires one.
Types of SIA License
FRONT END: A front end license is needed for a licensable activity such as:
- Cash and Valuables in Transit (CVIT). The transporting and guarding of cash and/or values against destruction, damage or theft.
- Security Guarding. The protection of people, premises and properties.
- Door Supervision (Bouncers). An operative that works at licenced premise (i.e. venues that have a licence to sell alcohol to drink on the premise).
- Vehicle immobilisation (wheel clamping). This is only legal on private premises in Northern Ireland.
NON-FRONT END: A non-front end license is needed if you are managing/supervising or employing individuals who do perform the aforementioned licensable activity (issued in the form of a letter.)
The Approved Contractors Scheme (ACS)
Although a voluntary scheme it does provide benefits if you have become an approved contractor in private security particularly for a new business starting out.
It helps to build a solid reputation because it provides a framework for managing and delivering quality services. Therefore ACS establishes a commitment of excellent customer service provable provided by your company. It also confirms your staff are qualified and trained to their individual roles as security operatives.