• Free SIA Licence Training

    Jun 21 • Career Advice, CCTV Operations, Door Supervisor, SIA Licence • 17613 Views

    It is actually possible to get your SIA Licence for free if you are currently unemployed and living in the London area. “Free 2 Learn” have been offering free SIA training on their popular security training courses for Door Supervision and CCTV for a while now.

    Upon successful completion of the course, a candidate will be able to apply for their SIA licence and work as a door supervisor or CCTV operator.

    Other training providers are offering the same courses for up to £400 in price. Free to learn will also pay for the licence application once you have passed the relevant exams. This really is a fantastic opportunity for those currently out of work.

    Principally you have to be over 19 to apply for the free course, you also have to be a UK resident. (The unemployed status means you have to be currently receiving JSA, ESA or Income Support to be eligible).

    On completion of the course you will have the following qualifications:

    Free2learn* BTEC Level 2 Customer Services
    * BTEC Team Leading
    * BTEC Level 2 Retail Knowledge
    * SIA Licence

    You can find more details of the free 2 learn SIA training courses at: www.free2learn.org.uk

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  • SIA Licence close protection officers

    The role of a Close Protection Officer

    Jun 11 • Career Advice, Close Protection Officer • 14463 Views

    It is important to know the facts if you are interested in becoming a close protection officer. Unfortunately, with society’s obsession with celebrity, Hollywood films and other influences, the idea of what it means to work in close protection has been some what romanticized. In an attempt to clear up some of the mystique and misunderstanding, we are going to look at the role and what you can expect from it.

    In truth, their are two types of close protection officers; those with VIP/Executives and those in Hostile Environments.

    VIP/EXECUTIVE CLOSE PROTECTION

    Ensure the safety of your Principle

    Essentially a close protection officer is employed to ensure the safety of their principle. The principle will often be an individual, or family who could be a target for assault, kidnapping, terrorist attacks and other threats.  Celebrities and high net worth individuals will also employ protection officers, to safeguard them from various types of threat.

    General Responsibilities

    Depending on the environment in which they are working, the risks and needs of the principle and the potential type of threat, a Close Protection Officer’s responsibilities will be wide ranging. Three basic principles do determine the kind of duties expected however.

    1. The level of risk for the principle

    High-risk principles such as top government officials may find their lives at risk if not sufficiently protected. Responsibilities for a close protection officer in these circumstances would involve checking for Improvised Devices (I.E.Ds) anticipating and watching for potential snipers, anticipating choke points on a route etc. A principle of this nature will almost definitely have a team of officers protecting them.

    2. The type of client

    sia licence hub madonna close protectionA celebrity is less likely to feel that their lives are in danger. The common risk that a celebrity experiences is that of their privacy being abused. In these circumstances a Close Protection Officer’s main duty is to ensure fans do not become problematic (each principle will have a tolerance level and it is important for a good officer to gauge this) and of course to keep photographers at a safe distance.

    Although the risk is generally lower for this type of client, a close protection officer under these circumstances will often work alone. This means that full responsibility for the principle belongs to them. Their job is to be as discrete as possible, especially as the principle will often be in the public eye.

    3. The assigned role

    A close protection officer (when working as part of a team), will often be assigned a specific role. For instance, your main duty could be that of a driver. You could also be part of an ancillary unit that actually works at a distance from the principle. Your role in these circumstances is to conduct the search of facilities or various background checks such as conducting electronic bug detection.

    The specific role a close protection officer is assigned, will be a result of their training and experience.

    HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT CLOSE PROTECTION

    sia licence hub hostile environment close protectionThere has been a huge increase in the amount of Hostile Environment work available to SIA qualified close protection officers with the right experience. With the ongoing conflict in countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan, there is much demand for close protection officers willing to take on such high-risk appointments. In fact it has been estimated that there were approaching 30,000 trained Close Protection Officers operating in Iraq during a peek in 2011.

    Experience is key here as the work is dangerous. Close protection work of this nature involves working as part of an armed team in areas that are much like a war zone. Deaths and serious injury can and will happen. To even stand a chance of working in a position such as this, you will be highly experienced ex military with years of training in hostile environments. Extensive weapons training and knowledge of IED’s (improvised explosive devices) and their operation/detection are all necessary skillsets. A newly SIA licensed close protection officer with firearms training need not apply.

    The personnel responsible for hiring close protection officers to work in such conditions are typically ex military themselves. In many ways it is a closed off world until you are able to break through with the correct skills and contacts. As stated above, a typical candidate for a position will usually have around 6-8 years active service, with at least 1 tour of an environment such as Iraq or Afghanistan.

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  • SIA CCTV Course Training

    What does a CCTV Operator actually do?

    Jun 10 • Career Advice, CCTV Operations • 12969 Views

    Many may think that the job involves sitting in front of TV’s all day watching the world go about its business. This of course is just a misconception.

    There are various types of CCTV operative roles. From guarding premises with onsite CCTV cameras, to working for your local council observing banks of screens linked to several hundred cameras.

    The ability to observe and understand when trouble might occur is a skill that a CCTV operator has to have. You need to be highly observant and develop your understanding of body language. With multiple screens in front of you, the job requires you to be able to filter through the noise of people going about their everyday business and be alert to those whose agenda maybe more unsavory.

    CCTV control_room

    The ability to observe multiple screens at once and detect issues as they occur is an important skill

    A CCTV operator will often work 4 days on, 4 days off, with 3 shift patterns that will cover the round the clock surveillance. The job may also involve you working alone. However, there is no time to get lonely. Working a council CCTV control room can mean dealing with the main police control room, and also visits from police officers throughout your shift. Operators in these circumstances will often have to log certain events just in case they need to give evidence in court.

    The real adrenaline can be felt when a crime is underway. A council CCTV operator will have to have a complete knowledge of the area under surveillance. When a suspect is on the move an operator will need to know exactly what cameras to follow, so that the suspect can be tracked. Then the police need to be alerted, with the operator giving vital information as to the description and location of the suspect.

    CCTV Camera

    Knowing what cameras to operate once a crime is underway is vital

    One thing CCTV operation is not, is a way of spying on the public. There is a strict code of practice in public CCTV that no footage leaves the control room unless seized by the police.

    Overall a job in public CCTV can be very rewarding. The close relationship with the police, and knowing that in some circumstances you are actually preventing crimes from taking place can be very satisfying indeed.

    Qualifications required: Level 2 Award in CCTV Operations (Public Space Surveillance)

    Average Salary: £15,600 (London – £18,000) – 2013 figures Reed.co.uk

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  • Fight or Flight for Security Guards

    Jun 6 • Career Advice, Security Guard • 4655 Views

    A part of the job being a security guard means being faced with confrontation. This will come with a varying degree of threat, which with the proper training you will hopefully be prepared. However, sometimes the body will overcome the training and react in either two ways; fight or flight.

    First, let us examine exactly what fight or flight syndrome is.

    Fight or Flight Syndrome

    In times of crises, our bodies have an in built mechanism that will automatically kick in. The danger can be real or perceived, it doesn’t matter – the point is, when a person feels threatened two systems are activated by the hypothalamus in the brain: the adrenal cortical system and the sympathetic nervous system.

    This serves to make our muscles more tense and to give the body speed. At the same time our blood stream is injected with adrenaline and stress hormones. Our bodies react immediately, with increased blood pressure and heart rate, working in unison these physiological responses makes us faster and more alert.

    the natural fight-or-flight-response

    Fight or Flight – A natural response that will need to be controlled

    Fight or Flight in the role of a Security Guard?

    It is almost inevitable that at some stage in your career as a security guard you will find your self in a position of danger. As already explained, no matter your training the fight or flight syndrome will take effect. If you do not recognize the symptoms your response may be to take flight. In some extreme circumstances this may be the correct decision. The point is, although your body is responding to threat, you want your brain to make the right decision. If you can rationally evaluate the situation, (and remember, your brain is being primed to think more alertly), your training will come back to you in order to stay and fight.

    The important factor here of course is that staying to fight does not mean physically “fighting”, it means staying to deal with the situation.

    What is equally important is the fact your adversary will also be experiencing these same physiological responses. When confronting someone that may have committed a crime, you need to appear to be non-threatening in the first instance. They are likely to run, and if apprehended by you that are then likely to fight. If they are carrying any weapons or are spurred on by the adrenalin running through them, it could end badly for you.

    Your best defense in all of these situations is knowledge. The more you learn about fight or flight and how it applies to your job as a security guard, the more likely you will be able to anticipate future confrontations.

    Helpful Links:

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  • What is the SIA?

    Jun 1 • SIA Licence • 8016 Views

    The Security Industry Authority is an organization that was set up to oversee and regulate the private security industry within the UK. The aim of the organization has been to ensure a standardized approach of training and work practices for what is now a very large employment sector.

    The SIA is an independent body that reports to the Home Secretary. This means it is not a standard government agency. The organization started in 2003 under the Private Security Industry Act 2001.

    Under the Act, the SIA is responsible for the continuing development of training and overall standards in practice of the private security industry.

    To this end, the organization has two main duties. One is to oversee the compulsory licensing of anyone working in an applicable security role. The other is to manage the Approved Contractor Scheme. This scheme measures private security companies to ensure quality control and high standards.

    Overall the SIA exists to make sure that all UK security industry licence holders, training providers and employers meet a universal set of standards. In essence, the organization ensures that those privately employed to protect us, and our property, do so in the correct way.

    sia licence cards

    Front line security officers require their SIA licence to be visible at all times

    Who needs an SIA Licence?

    There are two sorts of roles that require an SIA licence. Front line security officers, that include:

    • Manned Guarding – ie Security Guards/officers
    • Cash and Valuables in Transit
    • Close Protection
    • Door Supervision
    • Public Space Surveillance (CCTV)
    • Immobilisation, Restriction and Removal of Vehicles

    And non front-line security professionals. These are people who are employed as managers or supervisors of the front-line operatives listed above.

    Who is responsible for getting my SIA licence?

    The answer quite simply is you – the operative. If you are applying for employment or already working as a security professional, it is your responsibility to make sure you have a valid and up to date SIA Licence. To legally work within the industry you need one.

    If you are working without a licence you are breaking the law. Your employer will also be violating the law by having unlicensed employees. It is important to remember that your employer is not responsible for you getting your licence, (however in some instances they may pay for training so that you can move into a security role.)

    The best advice is to make sure you have completed all training and have received your SIA licence before even thinking about applying for a job. You will be caught and the penalties can be severe.

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  • sia training logo

    SIA Training and Beyond

    Mar 11 • Training • 8805 Views

    Type SIA training or security training provider into Google and you will find pages upon pages of results. Search specific to the type of SIA training you want, in your local area.

    The best advice we can give is not to rush into booking your security training course until you have vetted the providers thoroughly. Research the provider on the internet and give them a call.

    Alternative training providers

    It is worth remembering that the SIA only covers the entry level training that is required to become a security officer.

    Once you have passed your SIA training and are working in the industry, you will often want to look for ways to improve your skills and obtain higher training qualifications.

    Security threats change over time, for roles such as close protection, there are many add on training qualifications you can achieve.

    Furthermore, new technology changes the way security professionals work and the types of equipment they use.

    For all of these reasons, the security industry relies on higher and specialist levels of training that do not come from the SIA.

    The BSIA (British Security Industry Association) is the main organization that works alongside training providers, colleges and security companies to ensure that the standards of training remain high and universal throughout the UK.

    BS 8418 Systems:Layout 1

    Security Training and the BSIA

    As part of its role overseeing the standards of national security training, the BSIA has launched a code of conduct for training providers.

    Member training providers agree to follow the code in the conduct of their courses. This has gone a long way to strengthen standards within the industry. If you are looking for a training course beyond that of the SIA, you need to make sure the provider is following the BSIA standards listed below:

    • deliver a professional, quality service
    • protect the interests of customers
    • act in a legal, fair and honest way
    • meet the British codes of advertising and sales promotion
    • honour all guarantees or warranties they make
    • provide after sales service and support
    • have robust complaints and arbitration processes
    • avoid conflict of interests
    • have respect to other quality training providers

    The BSIA has also published a top 10 tips list for finding a suitable training provider.

    Maritime security training

    Maritime security requires a very specialist type of training and is also highly regulated. To work in such a role you will need to have completed maritime security training plus basic working at sea and maritime first aid and safety qualifications.

    The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) is the organization that regulates most of the maritime security training available. The best place to check if you are interested in this type of work and training is the MCA website. The following page contains a list of MCA training and accreditation schemes.

    Academic Qualifications in security

    UK Universities do run a number of courses that provide academic security qualifications. These are especially useful for those considering a management career within the security industry or are looking for roles in the fast growing IT security sector.

    The UCAS website is the best place to start for a search in this area. information security-related degrees.

    SIA Approved

    Further SIA Training

    Make sure you are aware of any changes in SIA training and updated training that may be required. The recent change to the Door Supervisor training is a good example of this.

    Maintain up to date training and remain employable

    It is very important to keep your training up to date if you wish to have a long and successful career in the security industry. Keep an eye on the SIA and BSIA websites. Speak to your employers if you feel there is a course available that will help you be better in your job, ask them to place you on it. If you are a freelance security officer in areas such as close protection, the more accredited training you have to your name the better. The better training you have, the safer you and those you protect will be. At the end of the day, that is exactly what you are trying to achieve.

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