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What is SIA? Understanding the Security Industry Authority

Nauman Farooq

Nov 01, 2023

Read time : 5 mins

Table of contents

What Does SIA Do?
What is an SIA Licence?
Requirements for an SIA Licence
List of SIA Licence Training Courses
SIA Licence Renewal
SIA Licence Revocation
SIA Licence Suspension
How to Work in the Security Sector
Wrapping Up

SIA stands for ‘Security Industry Authority, and it is responsible for regulating the private security industry in the UK.

In the UK, under the Private Security Industry Act, to work legally in the private security sector, individuals must have an SIA licence. It is illegal to engage in security-related work without this licence.

What Does SIA Do?

SIA aims to protect the public and regulate the security industry through licensing to raise standards in the industry. One of the primary responsibilities of the SIA is to raise standards in the private security sector while also ensuring the protection of the public and the regulation of the security industry through licensing.

What is an SIA Licence?

An SIA Licence, also known as a Security Industry Authority Licence, is a legal requirement for individuals working in specific roles within the private security industry in the United Kingdom.

Types of SIA Licences

The SIA offers two main types of licences: front-line licences and non-front-line licences.

i) Front-Line Licences

The SIA offers front-line licences for individuals working in roles that require direct interaction with the public or involve on-site security duties. These licences are essential for professionals such as Door Supervisors, Security Guards, Close Protection Officers, and Public Space Surveillance (CCTV) Operators.

  • Door Supervisor Licence: For individuals wishing to work in licensed and unlicensed premises. With this licence, candidates can work in bars, restaurants, hotels, shopping malls, etc.
  • Security Guarding Licence: For individuals wishing to work legally as security guards in shops, malls, and office buildings.
  • Close Protection Licence: For anyone who wants to work legally as a Close Protection Officer (CPO) or Bodyguard, protecting celebrities, VIPs or high net-worth individuals.
  • CCTV Operator Licence: For individuals looking for an SIA CCTV License to pursue a career as a CCTV operator in control rooms within businesses, shopping malls, airports, and local councils.

Front-line licence holders are trained to handle security-related tasks and ensure the safety and well-being of people in various settings. These licences play a crucial role in maintaining security standards and protecting individuals and properties from potential threats.

ii) Non-Front-Line Licences

A non-frontline licence is for individuals responsible for supervising, managing, or employing individuals involved in licensable activities. This SIA license is typically issued in the form of a formal letter.

Requirements for an SIA Licence

requirements for an sia licence

  • To be 18 years old
  • Pass an ID check
  • Undergo a criminal records check
  • Be eligible to work in the UK

This does not necessarily mean that if you have a criminal past or are not legally permitted to work in the UK, you will not be able to get an SIA licence. It will depend on your particular circumstances, and each application is handled individually.

Various training programs, including first-aid, will be required of you as you apply for your SIA licence. Ensure you have all the required paperwork and accurate information because applying for an SIA licence costs £184 and is non-refundable.

List of SIA Licence Training Courses

Please be aware that key-holding licences do not require formal education or training. Some courses from the above list will also need first-aid training.

SIA Licence Renewal

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 operative without one, which would limit your employment options.

Learn the SIA Licence Renewal process in detail by reading our blog post, “Stay SIA Licenced: Your Guide to Your SIA Licence Renewal.”

As SIA licences do not automatically renew, you must track when your licence will expire. You must manually renew it 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 SIA grants it.

SIA Licence Revocation

Your SIA licence could be withdrawn for the following reasons:

  • Your licence has been used in connection with fake identification or false documents.
  • Someone other than you has engaged in licensable conduct while using the licence.
  • You do not possess the training credentials you stated you did on your application.
  • You’re punished for a relevant offence with a conviction, caution, warning, absolute or conditional discharge, or admonishment.
  • You disregard or refuse to complete the training that SIA has ordered you to do.
  • According to data held by the SIA, you are not a fit and proper individual to have a licence.

The SIA will notify you of the decision in writing and ask for additional information in the letter. After that, you’ll have 21 days to reply to this revocation letter.

SIA Licence Suspension

SIA licence suspensions take effect right away. This means if SIA has suspended your licence, even if you work for an approved contractor, you are not permitted to engage in any licensable activity. Suspension is not a typical course of action for the SIA unless there is a clear and present threat to public safety that demands action.

Suppose 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.

How to Work in the Security Sector

If you’re considering a career in the security sector as a Door Supervisor, Security Guard, or CCTV Operator, obtaining an SIA licence is essential.

To get an SIA licence, you must complete a specific course. After completing the course, you can apply for an SIA licence and start working in the security sector.

Wrapping Up: What is SIA?

In summary, the Security Industry Authority (SIA) is responsible for regulating the private security sector in the UK. Holding an SIA licence enables you to work in the private security sector as a licensed security operative and offers the potential to advance your career with better job opportunities.

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