SIA Licence and Criminality Criteria

It is the objective of the SIA to reassure the public of the door supervisor’s or Security Guard’s or CCTV licence holder’s integrity by preventing criminals from working in the private security industry. Therefore, apart from the identity checks, in all cases, there will also be a criminality check against a five-year period of records. Except in extra-ordinary circumstances motoring offences would not prevent any person from being granted SIA licence. If the check reveals a record of convictions or cautions, it does not necessarily imply that the applicant cannot receive SIA licence.

The Security Industry Authority (the-SIA) will check if the offence(s) is:

  • Relevant
  • Serious
  • Recent

Below is a list of relevant offences for SIA licence:

  • Some driving offences (extremely serious and attracts a prison sentence whether it was served)
  • Firearms
  • Dishonesty (theft and fraud)
  • Proceeds of crime
  • Abuse and neglect of children
  • Violent/abusive behaviour (assault)
  • Espionage/terrorism
  • Social security offences
  • Offensive weapons
  • Sexual offences
  • Drugs
  • Criminal damage
  • Private Security Industry Act offences
  • Licensing Act offences

Generally, any of these offences discharged in the past 2 years to the date of SIA licence decision would prevent the SIA from issuing a licence. If the offence is serious SIA will refuse SIA licence application unless the sentence ended or ought to have ended at least 5 years prior to the date the SIA decides an application for SIA licence.

The SIA will first generally assess the seriousness of an offence based on the maximum length of sentence for each case. If the offence attracts a maximum sentence of 4 years or more, it will be treated as “serious” for SIA licence purposes. In this case the actual sentence served is immaterial and the 5-year wait will start from the date the sentence expired/discharged or ought to has ended.

Sexual, violent or offences dishonest in nature and other offences involving terrorism or the proceeds of crime are all considered as ‘serious’ by the SIA irrespective of the maximum sentence they might attract. For public protection, offences regarding “Offensive Weapon” – any article made or adapted to cause injury or intended for use in causing injury including possessing an article with a blade or point in a public place will be classified as serious even though they attract a maximum sentence below the four-year threshold.

If your conviction was received in a Magistrate’s court it is more than likely the offence will not be classified as “serious” but “relevant” for SIA licence purpose. This is because the Magistrate’s court is a lower criminal court in England and Wales and therefore has no powers to hand down sentences exceeding 4 years. The higher criminal court – Crown court deals with offences that attract a maximum sentence of 4 years or more. If your case was heard in a Crown court whether you request your case to be transferred from Magistrate’s court to the Crown court or at the Magistrate’s request it will be treated as “serious” for SIA licence purposes.

In any case the SIA will like to know if the offence is a single “out-of-character” mistake or part of a series of offences and caution. If a series of minor or relevant offences are identified, the SIA will seek to understand if there is a pattern in which case they can refuse the application for licence. If the SIA judge the minor/relevant offences to be isolated offences they might request “mitigation” from the SIA licence applicant. Mitigation can be in the form of a professional reference or evidence of voluntary training and other voluntary activities. Voluntary training could be any SIA course module for example, the law of use of force if the offence was to do with violence etc. It does not have to be SIA training nor does the training have to be on any of the SIA courses. The SIA may then issue a SIA licence otherwise the applicant will have to wait for 5 years from the date of last discharge to apply for SIA licence.

For example – if you have been (in January) convicted of a “common assault” which is a summary only offence and attracts a maximum sentence of 6 months imprisonment; but you were only ordered by the Magistrate to pay a £50 fine plus 4 days of community service which you completed that January. If this is the only offence listed on your CRB disclosure you will wait for at least 12 months from June (expected sentence expiry) to apply for SIA licence. The SIA will consider other factors then write you to provide additional mitigating circumstances if you want to receive SIA licence before the normal 2-year wait.

If you could not provide mitigating information you can apply 24 months after the sentence expiry and the SIA should grant you a licence without requesting any mitigating circumstance provided there is no more than one offence on your CRB and that the offence is not serious and that in addition to that only offence there are no Cautions, warnings, absolute/conditional discharges and admonishments. If the SIA refuse your application for SIA licence you can appeal in the Magistrate’s court. It is important to know that once the SIA have decided on your licence, the SIA have no power to change their decision unless through the Magistrate’s court, even if it was because of an error.

Below are the guidelines followed by the SIA in reaching a decision whether to issue a SIA licence on the ground of criminality criteria.

Criminality criteria must be satisfied by all SIA licence applicants – Door Supervisors, Security Guards, CCTV operators. However, you do not need to meet the criminality criteria to enrol on Door Supervision course, Security Guarding course, CCTV course or any of the SIA courses.


Go to the SIA web information for details:

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