Gaining a licence for Key Holding under the SIA’s auspices does not require any training or qualifications, you simply require the trust of your employer or client. With that under your belt, you can act as a Key Holder without any problems whatsoever. This means that you can be called upon to open the premises at any given time at the behest of the proprietor. What is important is that you do not undertake any activity that may fall under the definition of “manned guarding activities”, as those will require that you gain the correct SIA training.
You can get a Key Holding Licence simply by contacting the SIA. The only criterion you must satisfy is the lower age requirement – anyone under the age of 18 cannot by law work as a Key Holder. But what does being a Key Holder entail?
Key Holder duties are often carried out alongside other job responsibilities, and are given to senior members of staff. Although in the hierarchy of SIA accreditation the duty of Key Holder is some way down the list, being included as an Integrated qualification on all other qualifications, the role is not without responsibility – hence of course the lower age limit of 18. Due to the obvious security considerations entailed by possessing a key to a place of business, it is judged that anybody younger than 18 cannot legally be given this responsibility.
The SIA issues licences to people who would wish to act as key holders, but does not operate a training course for key holding. The simple reason for this is that anybody can technically be a key holder. There is no particular mental or physical skill involved in the act of key holding, and certainly nothing that could be affected by a period of training. The sole criterion on which a person’s eligibility to be a key holder hinges is their trustworthy nature. If you can be trusted to hold a key, you qualify. It’s really that simple. None of this is to say that the task of Key Holding is an unimportant one. The Key Holder’s reliability is of paramount importance, as they are required to be ready to act if the primary key for the premises is mislaid or stolen. Should the key have been stolen, there is a danger that the thief will attempt to make use of it as soon as is practically possible. To forestall this possibility, the police and/or premises security team should be called and should be met at the premises by the Key Holder, who will let them in t investigate further. If the designated Key Holder is also a security guard or other member of security staff, then they may also take part in the search of the premises.
The Key Holder for a building is not permitted to conduct a search if the only SIA accreditation they hold is that of a Key Holder. By taking part in any search they will be in contravention of the Public Security Industry Act and, technically, breaking the law, as they are not qualified in terms of evidence and crime scene preservation techniques, and their presence on the scene could invalidate the results of any search that takes place. For this reason it is common practice for the position of Key Holder in a company to go to an existing member of security staff, removing any confusion of roles and responsibilities. As any security worker who has gone through SIA training will automatically have gained an Integrated Key Holder’s licence, this is by far the most straightforward approach.