At Bristol Security our guards are SIA approved. But what is the SIA, and why is it so important that we only hire individuals with this licensing? How does one obtain a license, and in what cases is it necessary to have one?
The SIA, or Security Industry Authority, oversees the compulsory licensing of individuals working in specific sectors of the private security industry. As of 5 April 2017 there are 317,241 licensed individuals in the United Kingdom, and a total of 361,885 active licenses.
All of these qualified people are indeed necessary and in demand, just consider for example that the industry standard for events is one security guard to 100 people. And that the annual spend on private security in the UK is around £4 billion across the private and public sectors. Over 250,000 people are employed in the private security industry, a number that dwarfs the 155,000 police officers in England, Wales and Scotland.
The breakdown of licenses by sector is thus: Cash & Valuables in Transit, 8,571; Close Protection, 13,973; Door Supervisors, 203,311; Key Holding, 352; Public Space Surveillance (CCTV), 45,123; Security Guarding, 83,270; and Vehicle Immobilisers at 30.
The license is in place so that all private security personnel are ‘fit and proper’, that is, they are well trained and have the correct skills to undertake their role.
The Private Security Industry Act 2001 defines the following activities are licensable: Manned guarding; Cash and Valuables in Transit; Close Protection; Door Supervision; Public Space Surveillance (CCTV); Security Guard; Immobilisation, restriction and removal of vehicles; and Key Holding.
Manned guarding involves activities such as watching over premises and preventing unauthorised access or occupation. Squatting can get you 6 months in prison, a £5,000 fine, or indeed both of these punishments, but that doesn’t deter the huge number of squatters from entering properties each year. The role also involves preventing damage, destruction, and theft, and also guarding individuals against personal attacks at events and public appearances.
The university sector are now also making use of this vast resource, and are hiring security guards to monitor and break up over the top parties. The guards are equipped with video and audio equipment which will record the bad behaviour so that it can be dealt with effectively.
Five foot robot security guards are also being trialled in sixteen cities across the United States, and although they have been heralded by some optimistic news stories, it is unlikely that their flesh counterparts will be out of a job anytime soon.