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.
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.
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.