What does SIA Licenced mean and why is it important to guarding?

SIA licensed companies or SIA Licensed guards as we would know them are those who have passed the standard of training required to be a security officer.

It is an acronym for Security Industry Authority and it was brought into force by the government on the 1st of February 2002 having been first set up in 2001 with the intention of making Britain’s private security industry more accountable and answerable to its customers. The SIA has now become part of what we call, ‘The Sector’ which itself is being regulated by another agency called, “The Office Of Civilian Security” (OCS) which came into being at the same time although they were not officially merged until 2010 when it became known that both organisations were using similar contact detail resources.

SIA Licenced Security Guarding Agencies are governed by the SIA’s Enforcement Guidance Policy (EGP) which covers all forms of guarding agency, including Close Protection Officers (CPO), Personal Protection Dogs, and Armed Agents, who are required to be licensed under section 2 of the Private Security Industry Act 2001 or hold an exemption under section 3(4) of the same act. Employers aren’t SIA Licensed but they do, however, need to comply with statutory regulations such as; Health & Safety at Work Act 1974; Employers Liability Compulsory Insurance; The Provision Of Publicly Available Specified Physical Force Undertakings (PPASS); Criminal Records Bureau Disclosure Checks on all staff that have access to entry into secured areas; Security Industry Authority (SIA) SIA Regulated Workforce. This ensures that all guards employed by an agency are of good character and suitability for their roles. This is where the reputable choice comes in! Since 2007, The SIA have required all guarding agencies to be Licensed under section 3(1) of the act. Regulation 6(1) states that applicants need to pass a suitability test with high standards which have been designed by the industry itself. The test requires all applicants to present documentation that verifies they meet criteria set out under regulation 7 (the agency applicant guide). The following documents are needed;

·          A Disclosure & Barring Service check (criminal record bureau);

·           Proof of current employment (3 years);

·          Cover letters for different risk roles;

·          An enhanced DBS certificate;

·          A letter from the applicant’s GP;

All above documents must be sent to a solicitor specializing in immigration law. Once the Home Office has been given all required documentation they will then process an application which should take no longer than 8 weeks. If approval is granted, applicants will then have a two-year license period to work with an SIA Licensed Company that has previously assessed their level of training as being appropriate for the role held within its service delivery structure. In other words, if you are looking to join as an approved bodyguard or close protection officer your new employer will first have to apply for a licence on your behalf.

What does it mean for property owners?

In essence, you should only be looking to hire SIA licensed guards to protect your premises. This is because the SIA – which acts as a governing body – will not license individuals or companies that do not meet its strict requirements and adhere to an enforced code of practice. The idea, essentially, is to make sure private guards are suitable for protecting specific properties; they may be trained in emergency first aid, fire safety awareness, and restraint techniques. So if you need a security company in London, don’t settle for inexperienced guards, ensure you get fully trained, highly skilled, professional, and proactive SIA licensed guards!