Getting a SIA Licence with a Criminal Record

Apply for a DBS Check

If you want to work in the UK as a doorman, security guard or in similar security-related occupations, you can’t do this without a SIA licence. The idea behind the licence is to raise professional standards within the industry, ensuring that colleagues, customers, and employers have security staff who are not violent or with a strong criminal past. But does this mean that a career in security is automatically ruled out to anyone with a criminal record?


Government Checks

The SIA licence is issued by the government, and they will carry out a range of checks on identity and background, including criminal record checks. If you have spent more than 6 months outside the UK in the last 5 years, you may have to apply for an overseas criminal record check too.

The government system does not put an automatic block on issuing SIA licences to people with a criminal record. There is a very useful website called the Criminal Record Indicator ( which allows prospective applicants to enter details of any convictions or cautions and will then estimate their chances of being accepted.


Criminal Record Checks

If you decide to go ahead and submit an application for a SIA, then checks will be done with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). This is similar to the process for DBS checks for other types of employment. When the searches are being done in connection with a SIA, the authorities are looking for anything which might show that you are a potential risk to the public (such as convictions for violence) or for dishonest behaviour. They will also consider how relevant any offences are, how recent, and what punishments were handed out. In general terms, someone found guilty for one criminal offence many years ago, which was dealt with by a fine, stands a good chance of being granted a licence. Another applicant who has multiple recent offences probably doesn’t. The SIA application process also involves looking at offences which are spent and which you won’t have to disclose under other circumstances.


Outstanding Charges

Part of the checks will also look at any charges which are yet to come to court. The DBS won’t automatically assume guilt before the matter has been heard in court but might ask for more information about the circumstances around the offences to help decide whether they are relevant or not. Applicants who have lived overseas in the last five years are also asked to provide a criminal record check from overseas too. This can be tricky, as each country has its own system for producing certificates of good conduct or criminal history for job purposes. Ask your employer, who may have been through the process before. Getting checks completed overseas, certificates sent to the UK and potentially translated too can result in lengthy delays. Employers may be able to let an applicant start work while checks are pending, but this will depend very much on the type of work they are going to be undertaking.