March 27, 2023
Read time : 5 mins
The Security Industry Authority, or SIA, is in charge of policing the private security industry across the United Kingdom. They manage the voluntary Approved Contractor Scheme, which evaluates private security suppliers in accordance with objectively determined standards, and the mandatory licencing of personnel engaged in specific activities within the private security industry.
To safeguard and reassure the public, the Security Industry Authority was established to bar inappropriate people from employment in the private security sector.
Before engaging in certain operations within the private security sector, any person or organisation must get an SIA licence, which is a requirement for security licences.
Private security refers to any commercial service offered beyond the purview of the government. Any person employed in the private security sector who supervises doors, operates CCTV, works as a security guard, or even provides close protection is considered an operative.
The security industry did not yet have a national licencing structure; thus, the SIA licence was introduced in 2004. Before the licence’s introduction, local councils were required to permit people to operate at hospitality establishments without conducting background checks.
Numerous people have had the chance to start a career in a regulated, well-respected profession with organised training programmes thanks to the SIA licence. This licence guarantees that unfit individuals are not employed actively in the security profession.
There are two primary types of SIA licence:
Depending on the position held, a front-line SIA licence may be required. Any person serving as a front-line officer or operative must have this licence. For instance, there are two different things: an SIA cash and valuables in transit licence and an SIA door supervisor licence.
If you engage in a front-line activity that requires a licence as part of your profession, you must possess a front-line licence. Any employment role, such as employee, manager of employees, or director of a corporation, is covered by this.
The majority of front-line licences are plastic photo cards that you are required to wear while working. The key holding licence, issued as a letter, is an exception to this rule.
You do not have to display your licence if your work requires covert conduct (such as a retail detective).
You can carry out the tasks covered by a non-front-line licence with any front-line licence.
If you have a licence for close protection, you are additionally covered for:
You are additionally protected for the following if you have a door supervisor licence:
You are additionally protected for the following if you have a security guard licence:
You must have this licence if you manage, oversee, or work with anyone who engages in any activity requiring a licence. You must obtain a non-front-line SIA licence if your job is not a front-line position.
A front-line or non-front-line licence is required if you are a director of a business or a firm partner, and any other directors, partners, or employees of that company or firm execute licensable activities in their employment. In that case, you manage, supervise, and/or employ those who do so.
A letter is the format of a non-front line licence.
This does not imply that if you have a criminal past or are not legally permitted to work in the UK, you will not be able to obtain an SIA Licence; it will depend on your particular circumstances, and each application is handled individually.
Various training programmes, including first-aid, will be required of you as you apply for your SIA Licence. Make sure you have all the required paperwork and accurate information because applying for an SIA Licence costs £190 and is not refundable.
Please be aware that key holding licences do not require formal education or training. However, some actions can qualify as manned guarding, in which case you’ll additionally require the necessary instruction.
Some courses on the above list will also need first aid training.
Unless you possess a Front Line Vehicle Immobiliser Licence, which must be renewed annually, your SIA licence will expire after 3 years. You must reapply to work lawfully when your current licence expires or is about to expire. It is crucial to maintain your SIA licence because you cannot legally work as a security guard without one, which would limit your employment options.
As SIA licences do not automatically renew, you must keep track of when your licence will expire. You must manually renew if you want to keep performing the same job after your current licence expires.
Up to four months before the expiration of your current licence, you may apply for an SIA Licence renewal. As soon as possible, submit your renewal application because doing so lowers the possibility of a delay that could interfere with your capacity to work. Any remaining time on your current licence will be added to your new one, and your new licence will be valid as soon as the SIA grants it.
Your SIA Licence could be withdrawn for the following reasons, among others:
The SIA will notify you of the decision in writing and ask for additional information in the letter. After then, you’ll have 21 days to reply to this revocation letter.
Any inaccuracies you think they made in their evaluation can be included in your response to the revocation. If you don’t reply within that duration, the decision to cancel your licence will go into effect immediately. You will have an additional 21 days after the licence revocation is made to use your right to appeal to a magistrate or sheriff’s court.
The SIA will write to you to inform you of their decision if you submit a response.
Regrettably, SIA Licence suspensions take effect right away. This means that even if you work for an approved contractor, you are not permitted to engage in any licensable activity. The SIA won’t typically contemplate suspension unless it is evident that failing to act could threaten the public’s safety.
Suppose the SIA decides it is essential to suspend your licence, similar to when a licence is revoked. In that case, they will send you a letter explaining their decision, which will take immediate effect. After that, you will have 21 days to use your right to appeal to a Magistrates’ Court or to inform them if their assessment contained factual mistakes.
A licence that has been suspended will remain so until the issue is rectified.