Training & qualifications – Background
Section 1 of the Private Security Industry Act 2001 specifies that the functions of the SIA include “to set or approve standards of training” and “to make recommendations and proposals for the maintenance and improvements of standards in the provision of security industry services and other services involving the activities of security operatives”.
The Act continues, in Section 7 to state that licensing criteria “may include such criteria as the Authority considers appropriate for securing that those persons have the training and skills necessary to engage in the conduct for which they are licensed” and later in Section 9, that the Authority may “prescribe or impose conditions as to training”.
The level of skills in the private security industry varies. In some areas training and qualifications have been developed, in others little training and no qualifications exist. Previously no attempt has been made to identify the skills needed across the industry as a whole and so standards of performance also vary.
A number of specific qualifications are available to employees and new entrants to the security industry. These include National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs), vocational qualifications, professional qualifications, higher education awards and job training scheme assessments. Additionally, The Security Industry Training Organisation (SITO) has developed modern apprenticeships for the major sectors of the industry. However, this does not apply to all sectors; the vast majority of the training is voluntary and is unevenly distributed across the workforce.
The SIA has talked to service suppliers, customers, training organisations, awarding bodies, trade associations, local government and the police to achieve a broad agreement on the approach to be taken in developing and delivering training and qualifications leading to licensing.
The aim of new training and qualifications is to increase the skills and professionalism of those employed in the industry and to raise standards of performance. As licensing is introduced, the SIA will carry on talking with key stakeholders to continuously improve the standards of both training and qualifications.