It is estimated that there are between 300,000 and half-a-million people working in the security business, and that number is set to grow hugely as demand for reliable security increases.
In the past a small criminal element opting in and out of the security industry has given it a poor reputation and, despite its size, the industry has never been properly regulated under the law.
But that is changing with the implementation of the Private Security Industry Act 2001.
Setting up the SIA
Central to the Act is the setting up of the SIA. We’re here to help improve the security industry’s image so that the general public – and the wider business world – have a much clearer understanding of how the industry is regulated and who is entitled to work in it.
We also want to make it a better and more attractive industry in which to be employed – with better training opportunities, resulting in a recognised award and a decent career progression.
The SIA is the only authority in England and Wales dealing with these private security issues and we report directly to the Home Secretary.
A key role for the SIA involves the managing and issuing of licences for people working in particular areas of the private security business. Another crucial area for the future is developing an Approved Contractor Scheme.
Follow this link to read what our Chief Executive said about the SIA
New licences for specific sectors
The SIA will issue licences to people working in different sectors of the security industry. The Act explains which sectors these are, although the Home Secretary can change the sectors as appropriate.
- We decide which skills you will need in order to hold a licence. These skills may vary according to the type of security work being carried out. The SIA will publish what the required skills are so people can check if they have them.
- If you need to apply for a licence you will have to show us that you have the appropriate professional skills for the job. You will need to do this even if you have been working in the industry for a while. This means that you may need to do a short course of SIA-approved training.
- The SIA will keep a public register of everyone who holds a licence.
As the licensing programme rolls out in the prescribed sectors – over the next three years – SIA inspectors will have the right to enter certain types of premises such as security company offices to check that staff hold valid licences. These inspectors will be working collaboratively with local authorities, the police and other agencies to ensure a co-ordinated approach to enforcement activity.
- People operating in the industry without a licence could face prosecution. The penalty on conviction in a magistrates’ court is up to six months’ imprisonment, or a £5,000 fine, or both.
If you’d like more information about who will need a licence and how to apply for one click here.
Approved Contractor Scheme
The SIA will also create a public register of approved security firms in its publicly recognised national scheme for the security business.
If you’d like more information about the Approved Contractor Scheme and how to apply to join click here.