Home Secretary David Blunkett has appointed Peter Hermitage as chairman of the Security Industry Authority (SIA) for the next four years. The SIA is the regulating body for the private security industry in England and Wales that was set up in April 2003.
In his role as chairman, Peter Hermitage will be responsible for working with SIA chief executive John Saunders and SIA board members on the extensive agenda of raising standards in the private security industry where some 500,000 people will require personal licences and in which many of the 10,000 security companies in this country will have the opportunity to become accredited to national standards. Peter said:
“What the SIA is doing presents a huge opportunity for the private security industry to develop the quality of its work, its own profitability and its reputation. I have seen some very good practices – of companies innovatively tackling risks faced by their clients. The industry has the potential to be a major contributor in tackling crime and disorder and there are already some good examples of the real impact that security personnel can have. But these good practices are not universal. The SIA has to work alongside the industry, the police and the Home Office in an ongoing programme of improvement.”
As acting chairman since December 2003, Peter has already overseen the launch and roll out of the first national licensing for door supervisors. Peter commented:
“This is just the start! I am looking forward to working with leaders in the industry, the police and the Home Office to achieve something of lasting significance – placing the private security industry in the main stream of tackling crime and disorder. Over the next few years regulation will extend across the industry to embrace those who direct, manage and operate the businesses of manned guarding, key-holding security consultancy, private investigators and vehicle immobilisation. We have the task of advising Ministers on all aspects of the industry and of ensuring that there is a centre of knowledge and expertise from which good practice can be drawn.”
In addition to its job of licensing, the SIA will work with the police and other partners to ensure that any disregard of the new law will be addressed. As a former Chief Constable, Peter is no stranger to this aspect of the SIA’s work. He had a long operational police career in Kent before working in HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and finally as the Director of National Police Training. He commented:
“I have no doubt that the majority of the industry will do all in its power to comply with regulation. Businesses that operate lawfully have every right to expect that those who do not will face some sanction. Be assured that we will take an intelligence led approach to deal with the bad guys.”
In appointing Peter, David Blunkett expressed his support for the SIA by saying, “I am looking forward to you to take the lead in establishing the SIA as an effective modern regulator. I also look forward to working closely with the SIA in regard to its contributions to wider police family issues and the key role it will play in supporting Home Office aims.” In Peter’s letter of acceptance he commented, “It goes without saying that together with my colleagues in the SIA, I relish the challenge”!