Anyone wishing to work as a security provider in the UK is now required by law to have the correct accreditation, and it is their responsibility to arrange this. Anyone working in the security industry without the qualification – provided by the Security Industry Authority – will fall foul of the Private Security Industry Act (2001), and they could face a prison term or, at the very least, a large fine stretching to four figures. Therefore even if you have been working in the industry since before the act came into law early in this decade, you must make sure that you gain your SIA training before looking for a job or indeed continuing to work in the industry.
There is an unfortunate tendency among some people to view security workers, particularly bouncers, as little more than hired muscle, and this has been exacerbated by a few bad apples who have in the past abused their position. Some people working in the industry have used their privileges to act illegally, and as a result the Home Office created the SIA to create a course that would prevent this, giving its graduates a thorough examination, an understanding of the full extent of their responsibilities, situations that may arise and how to deal with them if they do. The idea behind the creation of these qualifications is that those “bad apples” will be weeded out and give the security industry a cleaner reputation.
SIA Training is based on a global approach to training that equips prospective security workers with a full understanding of their duties and responsibilities. The hope is that by making this course a requirement for anyone in the industry, the SIA will ensure that anyone looking to hire security professionals will be able to ensure that they hire someone well versed in security at numerous levels. Not only will the hiring organisation benefit from taking on staff in whom they know they can have faith, but they are now required by law to take account of their own responsibilities. On this basis, it is clear why SIA qualifications are now legally indispensable.
SIA training at the moment covers seven different elements of security training: Cash and Valuables in Transit; Door Supervision; Public Space Surveillance by CCTV; Vehicle Immobilising; Close Protection; Key Holding and Security Guarding. By having such a wide range of qualifications under the one umbrella the SIA guarantee continuity – if a client is looking to bring on board security staff in more than one position they can at least that there will be no conflict of approach: any security issues that escalate beyond the first level will be approached in a uniform fashion, thus avoiding any conflict of principle.
In keeping with this global approach, most SIA qualifications will entitle you to an integrated licence. For example, qualifying as a Door Supervisor gains you a licence to work as a security guard and be a venue’s designated Key Holder. If you qualify as a Close Protector then you also have accreditation to work as a Door Supervisor and all the integrated privileges of that qualification. It is important, knowing this, that you apply for the highest accreditation you can realistically achieve, and thus qualify for all the levels that come with that.
The centre for training in Birmingham is the Britannia Hotel in New Street, not far from the railway station. This is an easy-to-reach location, although if you are travelling from outside the city the best advice may be to take the train as not only does it stop close to the location, it will also mean you don’t have to look for a parking spot in England’s second city on a weekday. Directions to the hotel are easily accessible on the website.
The duration of the course is thirty classroom hours spread over as long as four days, and will cover all aspects of the security professional’s job. At the end of the course you will sit the exam, without which you will not gain your SIA accreditation and will not be permitted to operate as a security worker. First-time pass rates are high, but there is no need to worry unduly if you do not pass on the first attempt – the reasons why you have failed will be covered and explained to you so that you can concentrate on any areas of weakness in preparation for re-sitting the exam. Once you pass, you gain the qualification that entitles you to work as a private security professional in your chosen field anywhere in the United Kingdom.
The cost of the course varies depending on the organisation that refers you, so it is worth asking around to find the best deal.
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