If you’ve ever looked at jobs as a security guard or nightclub doorman, you are likely to have seen the acronym SIA. This stands for Security Industry Authority, and having a licence is required for a wide range of jobs in the industry. SIA licences aren’t just required for working on the door at a nightclub or being a security guard in a supermarket; people monitoring CCTV, key holders for a wide range of establishments and car immobilising operators also need to be licensed.
History of the SIA Licence
Before 2001, there was no standard training or licensing for the security industry. The whole sector suffered from an image problem, with some companies carrying out no vetting at all on employees, and not training them properly for roles. The SIA was created in 2003 as a public body, reporting to the Home Secretary, as a way of imposing minimum standards on the industry and to keep the criminal element out of security.
Fit and Proper People
The main role of the SIA is to licence and regulate the industry, by way of “fit and proper people” checks on those both running security companies and working on the doors. In order to qualify as a fit and proper person, employees must have basic qualifications and training, and have a standard DBS check. A standard check looks at an applicant’s current and unspent criminal record and also any offences from the past which could impact on their suitability as a security employer or business owner.
Having a single, minor conviction is not going to rule someone out from being a security guard, but multiple convictions might. Similarly, if the conviction was for something serious such as assault or grievous bodily harm, the SIA will be looking for evidence that the offender is no longer violent. There is lots of information on the SIA website about getting a check and the process to follow. The SIA, as with all other employers in the UK, will also carry out Right to Work checks on all SIA applicants to make sure they are legally allowed to live and work in the UK.
The SIA offers two types of licence, the first of which is the Front-Line licence. This is the sort of licence you will need if you are going to be working on the door at a nightclub and dealing with the general public, guarding valuables in a museum, or applying for a job working for a company which transports cash or valuables. The licence is a plastic card about the size of a credit card, and the SIA legislation requires all holders to wear their licence while they’re working.
Non-Front Line Licence
The other type of licence is for people who are working in the security industry but at one step removed from the public, so perhaps supervising a team of security guards, or owning an agency supplying staff to events. This licence is a letter rather than a card and doesn’t have to be carried at all times.