Working in the Private Security Industry

What is the the private security industry?

The main purpose of the private security industry in the UK is to provide manned and technical services for the protection of people, premises or property. It is part of the ‘extended policing family’ and is made up of different sectors (see below). The private security industry is regulated by the Security Industry Authority (SIA).

A security operative is someone who:

Works within the private security industry
Controls access and exits of premises
Enforces the rights of private property owners
Provides assistance to the police or other law enforcement agencies

What will I learn on day one of the SIA Course?

Working in the security industry

By studying this unit you will gain an understanding of the private security industry, how it is regulated and the various pieces of legislation applicable to those working within it. It will contain information on the Health and Safety at Work legislation and include ways of dealing with res and other emergency situations which you may encounter. This unit also covers the basic communication skills needed when working in a customer care environment.

The unit is split into six content areas:

1. The private security industry
2. Understanding of the law in the private security industry 3. Health and Safety for the private security operative
4. Fire safety awareness
5. Emergency procedures
6. Communication skills and customer care

About the Private Security Industry Act (2001)

The Private Security Industry Act (2001) was brought in to set, maintain and raise the standards of the UK’s private security industry. It created a new organisation called the Security Industry Authority (SIA), an independent body reporting to the Home Secretary. Its aims are to regulate the private sector security industry effectively, to reduce crime, raise standards and recognise quality service.

What do the SIA do?

Security Industry Authority (SIA) has three main duties.

1. The compulsory licensing of individuals undertaking designated activities within the private security industry.

SIA Licensing ensures that those working in private security are the right people for the job and that they are properly trained and quali ed. SIA licences cover all of the roles listed above.

Anyone working in these roles listed must have an SIA licence as it is a criminal offence to do so without one. If found guilty of working without a valid licence a security operative could be prosecuted and ned up to £5,000 or sentenced to prison for up to six months. It is also a criminal offence to employ someone who does not have an SIA licence for licensed activities. If a security operative is employed ‘in-house’ then there is no requirement for an SIA licence.

To get an SIA licence, an applicant needs to be over 18, hold a recognised quali cation relevant to the security sector, and pass a criminal record and other t and proper person checks. They will also need to pay a licence fee. This licence will last for three years after which time they will need to renew it.

2. Setting training requirements

Since the Private Security Industry Act (2001) was established, all security operatives need speci c training and quali cations. These quali cations offer the chance to continue your personal development into other areas of the industry. This career developing pathway is called continuous professional development (CPD).

3. Enforcement when there is a breach of standards

Where complaints are made about unlicensed security staff or about other breaches of the law, the SIA can investigate and, if necessary, prosecute offenders. They work closely with the police, local authorities and other agencies to oversee and monitor all licensed security activity, including making unannounced visits to check compliance with the law.