What is the CCTV Licence?
The CCTV Licence, also known as the Public Space Surveillance (PPS) Licence, allows you to work in the private security industry as a CCTV Operator. The licence is issued by the Security Industry Authority (SIA) and is valid for 3 years. CCTV Operators usually work in control rooms where camera footage from offices, shops or public spaces are displayed. Using the equipment, it is the CCTV Operator's responsibility to keep people and property safe by actively monitoring public areas, tracking individuals and identifying risk. Employers include security companies, local councils and corporations.
Do I need an SIA CCTV Licence?
Questions about when a CCTV Licence is required are very common. In short, if any licensable activities of a CCTV Operative, or Public Space Surveillance Operative, are carried out, then a licence is required. These activities include:
- Actively monitoring the activities of a member of the public.
- Using CCTV equipment (such as cameras) to identify (focus or track or look for) a particular individual.
- Review recorded footage through CCTV equipment to identify individuals or to investigate the actions of individuals.
Unless your employer has been given an exemption under Section 4(4) of the Private Security Industry Act 2001, it is illegal to carry out any licensable activity of a CCTV Operative without the necessary SIA Licence.
For Licence Integrations for current SIA licence holders and how it relates to CCTV, please see section below.
To be eligible for an SIA CCTV Licence, or Public Space Surveillance Licence, you need to have successfully completed the CCTV Operator Training Course and obtained the linked qualification: Level 2 Qualification in CCTV Operations (PSS). You must also be over 18 years of age, have the right to work in the UK and have passed a criminal check.
How to apply for the SIA CCTV Licence
Getting your SIA CCTV Licence may seem like a complicated process, but it’s actually quite straightforward! All you need to do is follow the simple steps:
Pass the CCTV Operator Training Course
The CCTV Course takes 3 days to complete and is assessed by 2 multiple choice exams and a practical assessment.
Complete the licence application on the SIA website
The cost of starting a licence application is £220. The SIA will get back to you within 25 working days. In rare cases, this can take up to 6 weeks. Note, If you are currently an SIA Licence Holder and are adding the CCTV Licence as an additional licence, you will be eligible for a 50% discount.
Complete identity checks
You will need to verify your identity to satisfy parts of your SIA application, namely your photo ID. The easiest way to do this is at the Post Office. You can also have someone with a British passport, who is not related to you, to sign the back of your photo ID.
Submit application and wait for the SIA to complete identity and criminal background checks
The SIA will verify your identity and run a background check on your criminal record. If you have lived abroad for 6 months or more, you may be required to provide some supporting evidence.
Receive your 3 year licence in the post
You are finally licensed! Your SIA CCTV Licence is valid for 3 years.
For further information about how the application process works, follow our detailed guide SIA Licence Application Process
SIA CCTV Training Course
To apply for the SIA CCTV Licence, you are required to carry out formal training and pass the necessary assessment. You will then receive a Level 2 Qualification in CCTV Operations (PSS) which you can use to apply for your licence.
The CCTV Training Course runs over 3 days and contains 3 Units:
- Working in the Private Security Industry
- Working as a CCTV Operator
- Practical Use of CCTV Systems
For further information see SIA Licence Application Process.
Cost of CCTV Licence
Your SIA CCTV Licence is valid for 3 years and costs a fee of £220. This is to cover the cost of processing your application and is non-refundable.
You might be eligible for a 50% discount
Some SIA Licence holders require additional licences. If you currently hold an SIA Licence and need an additional one, you will receive a 50% discount on your application fee for the second licence. For further information, see the SIA's Licensing Discount
Claim back tax
If you are paying for your own licence, you can claim tax relief (around £44 at the basic rate).
SIA Licence Renewal
Renewing your CCTV Licence requires no refresher training. You can simply renew your licence for a fee of £220.
You can begin this process up to 4 months before the end of your current licence. Your new licence will not begin until your current one expires. For more information see the SIA Website on Licence Renewals.
SIA Licence Integration
The SIA allows certain licence holders of one area to perform licensable activties in another. For example, holders of the Door Supervisor Licence can work as Security Guards.
For CCTV related activities in particular, a Door Supervisor may conduct all frontline duties, including camera monitoring. Scenarios in which a CCTV Licence is not necessary are as follows:
- Where cameras are used to solely identify and monitor the activities of intruders/trespassers onto a site.
- For the protection of buildings and/or vehicles against theft or damage to the actual premises or property.
Since 20th March 2006, operators of Public Space Surveillance CCTV have required a CCTV Licence issued by the SIA. According to the SIA, organisations undertaking CCTV surveillance also need to ensure a minimum of 85% of their CCTV Operators hold a valid licence at all times.
Learn more about SIA licensing integration.
The SIA Public Surveillance (CCTV) Licence costs £220, this is non-refundable once paid. This is paid directly to SIA, who are the licensing authority for the security industry.
To be eligible for the SIA CCTV (or SIA Public Surveillance) Licence, you need to pass the CCTV Training Course, be at least 18 years old and have the right to live and work in the UK.
The CCTV Operator Course introduces you to the fundamentals of working in the security industry and operating camera equipment. It runs over three days and is a requirement for obtaining the SIA Public Surveillance (CCTV) Licence.
The SIA checks the criminal background of applicants through a DBS check, as well as verifying their identity.
Having a criminal record does not rule you out from applying for an SIA licence. The SIA will make a decision on whether your conviction is relevant to your licence application.
With a Door Supervisor Licence you can undertake CCTV-2 activities. These are classed as using CCTV only to identify a trespasser or to protect property. If you want to carry out any other activities using CCTV equipment such as tracking individuals, you will need the SIA Public Surveillance (CCTV) License.
If you already have an SIA License the cost of another licence is discounted by 50%.
According to the SIA website, it takes 25 working days to process a licence application. In some cases, this can take up to 6 weeks due to additional security checks.
The SIA Public Surveillance (CCTV) Licence enables you to work in the use surveillance in public spaces. This licence allows you to look for individuals using CCTV.
It is illegal to work in the private security industry without the necessary SIA Licence unless your employer qualifies for an exemption under Section 4(4) of the Private Security Industry Act 2001.
Most identity checks can be completed online. If you are using a passport as your identity document this can be electronically checked. If electronic checks cannot be completed you will be asked to identify yourself at the post office.
To renew your SIA CCTV Licence, you do not need to take any further training and can simply start a renewal application on the SIA website.
It will cost £220 to renew your SIA licence. Your new licence will last for 3 years.
You can start renewing your SIA licence 4 months before your current licence is due to expire. Your new licence will only commence after your current licence expires.
Licence Integration is where an SIA licence can be applied to another area that relates to the licence. The SIA allows individuals who meet the licensing criteria for one licensable activity to carry out another licensable activities. For example, individuals with a SIA Close Protection Licence can work as Door Supervisors. In the same way, Door Supervisors are able to carry out some licensable activities (within limitations) of a CCTV Operative.
To read our full list of FAQ's, click here.