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Security

What are the SIA Criminal Checks?

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Nauman Farooq

Dec 15, 2023

Read time : 12 mins

Table of contents

Introduction
How Long Does a Criminality Check Take?
SIA Overseas Criminal Record Check
Criminal Record Indicator
Most Common SIA Licences
Relevant SIA Security Courses for SIA Licences
FAQs

The SIA criminal checks, also called criminal record checks or background checks, are a critical step in the SIA licencing process. The Security Industry Authority (SIA) checks applicants’ criminal records to decide if they are suitable candidates to hold an SIA licence.

The primary purpose of conducting SIA criminal checks is to identify serious matters that could be a risk to the public. It includes checking for past criminal records to determine whether the applicants have participated in any crime.

What Does the SIA Consider When Assessing a Criminal Record?

SIA evaluates each licence application individually and checks for all the required information and documents. Mainly, SIA checks for a criminal record and evaluates crimes based on three factors.

Relevant: Whether your offence is relevant to your application or the work of a security operative.
Sentence: Any sentences you received for your offences.
Recent: Was the offence recent?
Disposals: Any ‘disposals’ or penalties you were given for your offences outside of court.

SIA Check If the Criminal Record Is Relevant

Even if you’re criminal record shows a crime, SIA will still look for it if it’s relevant to your application or the work of a security operative. If you have committed some relatively minor crime, SIA will not decide solely based on it. However, a violent crime or offence could decide whether you’re the right candidate to get an SIA licence.

List of Relevant Offences

Here is a list of relevant offences in the context of an SIA licence application:

  • abuse or neglect of children
  • criminal damage
  • dishonesty (theft and fraud)
  • drug offences
  • espionage
  • firearms offences
  • offensive weapons
  • private security offences
  • proceeds of crime offences
  • sexual offences
  • social security offences
  • terrorism
  • violent and abusive behaviour

The Criminal Sentence

Regarding the criminal sentence, it’s important to understand that the specific offence doesn’t solely influence the decision in isolation. Instead, the sentencing process considers various mitigating factors that will be considered for evaluating your SIA licence application.

The Recency of the Offence

Another important factor in the SIA criminal checks is the time of the offence when it took place. It’s obvious that people can make mistakes, and if any offence happened long ago and its record was clean, such a crime will not affect much to your licence application.

If you’re still unsure whether you’ll pass the criminal record checks, the SIA has a Criminal Record Indicator tool to help you.

How Does the SIA Judge an Offence to be Serious?

The SIA examines the maximum sentence length for listed offences. The SIA states the offence as serious if it’s 4 years or more. This includes sexual, violent, terrorism-related, and proceeds of crime offences. These crimes are always treated as serious regardless of sentence length. Similarly, offences involving an “Offensive Weapon” are considered serious, even if the sentences fall below the 4-year threshold.

  • Court of Conviction

Convictions in Magistrates Courts are typically not considered serious by the SIA due to their limited sentencing powers. In contrast, Crown court convictions, which can result in sentences exceeding 4 years, are considered serious by the SIA.

  • Character of Applicant

The SIA will identify if the committed offence is “out of character” in nature. If it’s considered an isolated incident, the SIA may request mitigation. It will allow the applicant to provide professional references or evidence of positive actions like voluntary training.

Older convictions will not have much impact on your SIA licence application. However, recent criminal activity has a higher chance of affecting your licence application.

How Long Does a Criminality Check Take?

SIA criminality check time for performing basic checks is up to 14 days. However, more detailed and standard checks usually take around 8 weeks.

SIA Overseas Criminal Record Check

If you’re an overseas resident living outside the UK, you must provide evidence of a criminal record check from the country you live in.

In the last five years, if you’ve spent 6 months or more outside the UK, you must provide evidence of a criminal record check for each country you’ve lived in. The evidence must be from an official source of the respective countries.

If you do not provide relevant documents or evidence of criminal record checks outside the UK, SIA will not proceed with your application. Therefore, you must complete these checks before submitting your SIA licence application.

​​Criminal Record Indicator

The SIA has a Criminal Record Indicator tool to check if you can get an SIA licence. This tool will help you see whether you will pass the criminal checks.

This tool asks you for information required to analyse whether you can get an SIA licence. The indicator’s process is very similar to the process SIA’s licensing team follows to decide. However, the results from the indicator will just give you an idea, and you cannot solely depend on them.

​​Other Requirements for an SIA Licence

To get an SIA licence, you must fulfil the following requirements:

  • ​Complete a Relevant SIA Training Course

To get an SIA licence, you must complete an approved training course. For example, if you want to get an SIA Security Guard Licence, you must complete the SIA Security Guard Training Course. The courses offered by Hurak Learning comply with the Security Industry Authority (SIA) standards.

Hurak Learning provides a range of security courses related to SIA licenses. You can explore these courses by visiting the following link.

If you’re seeking funding for free SIA training, read our blog, “How to Get Free SIA Training Courses.”

Take our free SIA Licence Training Mock Exam to prepare for the assessment.

sia licence training mock exam

  • ​Prove Your Identity

    You must provide valid identification documents, such as a passport or driving licence, to prove your identity.

    For further information, please refer to the Official SIA Website.

  • SIA Licence Application Fee

The SIA licence application fee is £184 for all types of licences, which is non-refundable. However, it doesn’t include the training cost, and you must pay a course fee separately to your training provider.

To learn more about the SIA Licence cost, read our blog, “An In-depth Look into the SIA Badge Cost.

If you want more information on how to apply for an SIA licence, read our blog, “A Step-By-Step Guide to Getting an SIA Licence.

Most Common SIA Licences

SIA issues numerous SIA Licences for different security jobs. Some of the most popular SIA licences are:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I apply for an SIA badge with a criminal record?

Yes, you can apply for an SIA badge or licence even if you have a criminal record. SIA will check the type of offence you have committed in the past, and if it’s not considered serious, chances are higher that you may qualify for an SIA badge.

What convictions stop you from getting an SIA licence?

Convictions for serious offences, including violence, sexual, terrorism, and certain other offences, can stop you from getting an SIA licence.

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