Who needs a licence?
Definitions of licensable activity
Those who provide and/or carry out contracted security activities will require an SIA licence. The guarding activities defined as licensable by the Private Security Industry Act 2001 are:
- guarding premises against unauthorised access or occupation, against outbreaks of disorder or against damage;
- guarding property against destruction or damage, against being stolen or against being otherwise dishonestly taken or obtained;
- guarding one or more individuals against assault or against injuries that might be suffered in consequence of the unlawful conduct of others.
Examples of a licensable activity
- Guarding premises or property.
- Guarding people against harm
- Guarding cash or other valuables in transit.
- Guards in supermarkets and shopping centres, guards at building sites.
- Close protection (personal body-guarding).
- Security staff at concerts will need a licence if their services are supplied under contract and they are wholly or mainly employed to keep order.
- Stewards employed under contract at entertainment venues, sporting events,
- demonstrations, protests or similar events where their security duties are more than just incidental and includes providing a physical presence, guarding against
- disorder, protecting property and generally maintaining order. (please see Events security section)
- Security staff employed under contract to monitor CCTV screens.
Those providing and/or carrying out licensable security activities will require a Security licence unless the guarding activities fall within one of the specific sectors of the industry that have been identified by the SIA which require a separate licence: Cash and Valuables in Transit; Close Protection; and CCTV Public Space Surveillance. Section 7 of the PSIA 2001 permits the SIA to specify the specific skills to perform a licensable activity. Sectors have been identified where licensable activities are distinctly different against national occupational standards in content and context and or where different controls are imposed by regulation.
The guarding activities that are dealt with by separate sector licences are:
- Using specially adapted vehicles for the safe transportation and custody of cash, property and other valuables. This will require a Cash and Valuables in Transit licence.
- Establishing and maintaining a safe environment in which a specific individual can live and work whilst continually minimising risk. This will require a Close Protection licence.
- Operating CCTV equipment which is either deployed into fixed positions or has a pan, tilt and zoom capability which enables the operator to:
- Pro-actively monitor the activities of members of the public whether they are in public areas or on private property;
- Use cameras to focus on the activities of particular people either by controlling or directing cameras at an individual’s activities;
- Use cameras to look out for particular individuals;
- Use recorded CCTV images to identify individuals or to investigate their activities.
This will require a CCTV Public Space Surveillance Licence
However, where cameras are monitored as part of wider security guarding duties, for example solely to identify intruders onto a site, or for the protection of vehicles or buildings, and not specifically to monitor members of the public who may enter that property, other than to guard against damage to or theft from property and premises, a Security licence will be required.
- Licensable activities conducted at pubs, clubs and other licensed premises and at, or in relation to, times when those premises are open to the public, by those either employed in-house or under contract. This will require a Door Supervisor licence.
(The complete definition of licensed premises for these purposes is set out in Paragraph 2(8) of Schedule 2 to the Private Security Industry Act 2001).
Front line/non-front line licences
There are two types of licence:
- Front Line Licence for those who carry out licensable activity; and
- Non-Front Licence for those who manage, supervise and/or are the employer of individuals who engage in licensable security services, but who do not personally carry out the front line activity.
Holders of a Non-Front Line licence will not need to satisfy the competency criteria and will cover the licence holder to perform non-front line activities in all other sectors licensed by the SIA.
Holders of a Front Line Licence will need to meet all the licensing criteria and will only be licensed to perform the activities designated by the type of licence held, unless otherwise specified. In some circumstances though, a licence for one industry sector can cover the activities designated by another. An example of this is the Door Supervision Front Line licence, which covers the activities of the Security Front Line Licence.
Holders of a Front Line licence are also covered to perform non-front line activities for any other sector, in circumstances where the Front Line licence holder manages, supervises and/or employs individuals who engage in the security activities of that sector.
Who will not need a licence?
- *Security guards employed in-house.
- *Stewards employed directly in-house and carrying out guarding duties (except on licensed premises where they will be required to have a door supervisors licence). Anyone working in an official capacity at an event or proceeding but only assisting by giving information, issuing directions, checking tickets and helping the general public.
- People who may occasionally be required to maintain order and discipline amongst individuals but are not security guards, such as teachers.
- People who carry out security activities incidentally to their main activities. E.g. a shop assistant who may be responsible for locking up at the end of the day.
- Those employed to check tickets, invitations or passes such as cinema ushers will not require licence.
- Non operational support staff in the Security Guarding sector e.g. porters and handymen.
- Installers of CCTV equipment.
*NB The SIA is currently looking at the issue of in-house security guards and whether they too will require a licence. Click here for further details
*NB The SIA is also currently looking at the issue of security guarding exemptions Click here for further details.