SIA Licence Requirements

Proof of Identity

The minimum age requirement for SIA training or SIA licence is 18 years. Applicants for SIA training or SIA licence are required to produce at least one photo identity document. This can be Passport of any nationality or UK photo driving licence plus two forms of proof of address dated within the last 3 months from the date of SIA training application or SIA licence application. It is necessary for the candidates’ identity to be verified to satisfy the reason(s) for the introduction of the SIA – to enhance public confidence and trust in those providing security services. Identification data, including a photograph of the candidate, will be collected to ensure that the SIA licence holder is the person that he or she claims to be. ID verification is the first stage in the processing of SIA licence application, followed by competency (SIA training qualification) and criminality checks.

Proof of Competence

Candidates are required to attend a classroom based SIA training covering basic job training and the law in England and Wales relevant to the role of a Door Supervisor, Security Guard or CCTV operator. This consists of a four-part SIA training course and culminates in 4 examinations, to prove competency. The total training time is 30 hours (including examinations) and is delivered as:

  • Unit 1 – Working in the Private Security Industry
  • Unit 2 – Working as a Door Supervisor
  • Unit 3 – Conflict Management for the Private Security Industry
  • Unit 4 – Physical Intervention Skills for the Private Security Industry

Criminality Check

Due to the public nature of the roles of SIA security Guards, SIA Door Supervisors, CCTV operators and other security sectors requiring SIA licence it is necessary that the SIA carry out thorough background checks on licence applicants. Door Supervisors, CCTV operators, Security Guards and other sectors requiring SIA licence work in positions of trust and are therefore expected to be honest. The SIA would ensure that any SIA licence applicant who has committed and served sentence for a “serious” offence in the 5 years before the date the SIA decides on their SIA licence application will automatically be refused SIA licence if the sentence/restrictions received is 4 years or more subject to mitigating circumstance consideration. The SIA will assess criminality since the following factors – seriousness of the offence, relevance of the offence and significance factor.

First the SIA will check if the offence identified on your CRB report is a relevant offence. The next step will be to assess “seriousness” of the offence; and they would assess if the criminal offence is “significant”.

A significant criminal offence is one that may not directly impact on the security industry per say but may offer an insight into the character of the applicant and potentially undermine the position of trust of the SIA licence holder; for example – hacking and other criminal offences in the computer software industry. A single significant offence in the past 2 years may require other mitigating circumstances for SIA to grant a licence. A single serious offence in the past 2 years may not require the SIA to request any additional mitigating circumstances and will refuse to grant SIA licence. Two or more cautions, warnings, absolute/conditional discharges and admonishments or significant offences or in the past 2 years may lead to SIA licence refusal. The SIA will be more lenient with cautions, warnings, absolute/conditional discharges and admonishments if they are very few in a 5-year period to the date the SIA decide on the licence application, but would require mitigation. For details on criminality criterion please go to our SIA licence – Criminality criteria page.

Benefits of SIA licence

A Security Guard or Door Supervisor with SIA licence enjoys the trust and confidence of the public. As Security Officers and Door Supervisors are expected to work in a position of trust and as part of a team people would like to be sure that the security officer or Door Supervisor has been checked and therefore legally permitted to carry out security roles. It is now for the licensed Door Supervisor to live up to these expectations by ensuring that they behave with personal integrity and understanding.

Types of SIA licence

Frontline – This licence is required if you will be directly involved with members of the public or customers visiting your premises and as the first point of contact in service delivery. Example is a Door Supervisor on the door (point of entry) deciding on the suitability of customers to enter a licensed premise and maintaining order in that premises.

Non-frontline – This license is issued to those who would not be expected to be involved directly with the public or customers and have the responsibility of managing or supervising or controlling the frontline officers. An example is a Security Supervisor, Manager or Director.

The difference between frontline and non-frontline SIA licence

In order to obtain a “frontline” Security licence, SIA training must be completed on any of the approved SIA courses leading to a nationally recognised qualification whereas no SIA training is required for a non-frontline licence. A frontline licence is a credit card – type badge whereas a non-frontline licence is a paper – type licence. It will be interesting to know that a front-line licence holder can carry out both frontline and non-frontline duties whereas a non-frontline licence holder cannot carryout frontline duties. In both types of SIA licence Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks are undertaken by the SIA. In your SIA licence application form, you should tick the frontline box if you have been required to complete a SIA training course prior to application for SIA licence.

Who needs SIA licence?

Anyone working in the security industry providing contract security services and in limited cases in-house security services would require a Security Industry Authority (SIA) licence.

Difference between in-house and contract security

In-house refers to providing security services with company’s own funds, staff and resources as opposed to services being out sourced or contracted out to another company.

Sectors requiring a Security Industry Authority (SIA) licence:

  • Key holders – under contract
  • Security Guarding – under contract
  • Security Consultants – under contract
  • Door Supervisors – under contract and in-house
  • Vehicle Immobilising – under contract and in-house

It is important to add that there is no Private Investigations licence at present and this page will be updated as soon the SIA completes their consultation process and reach a final decision.

Again, there is no specific SIA training course for Key holding. Anyone who has obtained a front-line SIA licence can work as a Key holder. It is simply holding keys. However, a key holding licence is a paper type licence equivalent to non-frontline licence and can also be used to carry out other non-frontline duties in the private security industry.

Approved Contractors

These are security firms registered and approved by the SIA (under section 14) who have satisfied requirements set by the Security Industry Authority.

Benefits of Approved Contractor Status

Section 4(4) of the Private Security Industry Act (PSIA) 2001 specifies exemptions for approved contractors.

A person will not be guilty of an offence under section 3 of the Private Security Industry Act if the following conditions are met – every condition must be met for in order for section 4 to apply:

  • Security activities are carried out by a security operative in their capacity as a director, partner or employee;
  • An application for an SIA licence is pending;
  • The licence applied for would authorise the security operative to carry out the security activities at (a) above, and is not one that has previously been refused;
  • The company or employer is currently registered as an approved provider of security industry services under section 14 of the Private Security Industry Act 2001; and
  • The SIA has authorised that company or employer to use directors, partners or employees whose applications are pending to carry out the security activities at (a) above.

Relevance of “Approved Status” to the SIA licence applicant

When a candidate obtains a qualification on completion of SIA training the next step is to apply for SIA licence. If a candidate can show prospective employers (approved contractors) that they have applied for SIA licence and are waiting for it to be processed, Approved Contractors are legally allowed to hire them, and they won’t be breaking any laws if they work while waiting for their SIA licence.

However, to work as a Door Supervisor in Pubs, Nightclubs and some other Public Entertainment venues you must hold the actual SIA licence (badge). The exemption under section 4 does not apply to Door Supervisors working in alcohol and/or public entertainment venues. The section 4 exemption applies only to Security Guarding in non-licensed premises i.e. shops, office blocks, construction site etc. Therefore, Security Guards can work so long as they can show that they have completed a SIA training course and have applied for SIA licence. This can simply be shown by producing an achievement certificate and the SIA licence application acknowledgement letter.

Other responsibilities of the SIA are:

  • To set and approve standards of conduct, training and supervision within the industry, and
  • To make recommendations to improve standards

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