A period of transition is inevitable as we and the private security industry move forward to SIA licensing. During this demanding time we must strike a balance between putting SIA licensing in place as quickly as possible, and ensuring we and the industry can cope with the volume of work. Specifically we will need to be clear that…
- We have tested computer systems in place
- Adequate training facilities are in place and available
- People are aware of when SIA licensing will be introduced in their region
- The industry knows how to get SIA licences
- Adequate compliance and enforcement can be carried out
- Contingency plans are in place to cover exceptional circumstances
To make sure that all this is in place and working properly we are planning a pilot exercise for the beginning of 2004. At present we are still discussing our approach and have not yet confirmed where the licensing pilot may take place.
We are also aware that we need the co-operation of everyone involved to succeed in several of these areas. We will continue to hold regular meetings and workshops with the industry, local authorities and the police.
Door supervisors will be the first sector to be licensed. There will be a large number of applications to deal with and we will phase in the introduction of SIA licensing on a regional basis across the country. This will also allow our compliance and enforcement teams to monitor how well the system is working on the ground.
Existing local licences
Many local authorities and police forces currently run their own registration or licensing schemes for door supervisors. We have been talking to them to determine the best way forward and have carefully considered how to handle these existing schemes.
The key question is whether local authority registrations and licences should be allowed to run their course and expire naturally at the end of their existing terms; or require instead that only SIA licences are held from a set date in each region, cutting existing local arrangements off on that date before existing registrations and licences expire naturally.
In the light of legal advice, and in view of the need to introduce robust and consistent standards as soon as possible, we plan to follow the latter course. This may cause some understandable concern to existing licensed or registered door supervisors with a significant period left to run. To limit this concern, we are asking local authorities to consider licensing or registering only for twelve-month periods from the earliest opportunity. Our current plan means that we will not recognise any licences, except those that we have issued after spring 2005.
Full details of the regional roll out timetable will be published in late spring 2003 and well in advance of SIA licensing, to allow enough time for applications.
Wheel clamping and towing away on private land
A relatively small number of people work in this sector and it is our intention to complete licensing of them at the same time as we complete licensing for door supervisors.
Manned guarding (including close protection and dog handling) and key holders
This sector is scheduled for licensing in 2005 and involves a large number of people. However, about 40 per cent of this sector is employed by just 12 different security companies. This allows a more flexible approach and although a regional phasing in programme may well be adopted, we will work closely with the companies concerned to ensure a smooth transition.
Private investigators and security consultants
These sectors will be licensed from 2006. We expect to be able to license everyone without a phasing in process.