The Security Industry Authority is the organisation responsible for regulating the private security industry and maintaining all aspects of SIA jobs. They are an independent body reporting to the Home Secretary, established in 2003 under the terms of the Private Security Industry Act 2001. Their mission is to help protect society by collaboratively developing and achieving high standards within the private security industry. They have two main duties. One is the compulsory licensing of individuals working in specific sectors of the private security industry; the other is to manage the Approved Contractor Scheme, which measures private security companies against a set of independently assessed criteria.There are 2 kinds of SIA licence that the SIA is managing:
- A front line licence is required if undertaking licensable activity, other than key holding activities (this also covers undertaking non-front line activity). A front line licence is in the form of a plastic SIA card that must be worn, subject to the licence conditions.
- A non-front line licence is required for those who manage, supervise and/or employ individuals who engage in licensable activity. This SIA licence is issued in the form of a letter that also covers key holding activities.
Responsibility for getting an SIA licence and SIA card before applying for SIA jobs
You, the operative, or the ones who are seeking for a good SIA job, are responsible for obtaining a SIA Licence with a SIA security card to work legally within the private security industry and in order to obtain an SIA Licence you must have been well trained with the suitable sia course and passed the final SIA test. This entitles you to a certificate demonstrating your right to work in the industry, as well as the SIA licence stating you are a qualified professional, so you feel confidently applying for a well-paid SIA jobs.
You will be breaking the law if you do a SIA job without a licence and your employer will be breaking the law if they use unlicensed staff. It is not your employer's responsibility to get you licensed, but it is their responsibility to ensure that their security staff always have the right licence with right SIA card for the role they ask them to perform.
Becoming an SIA security card holder lets you show everyone that you are a qualified, SIA-accredited, security worker. It is essential that you follow best practice of SIA card holders: All operatives (except for some special positions like Close Protectors or Store detectives) must wear the SIA security badge/ SIA card whenever they are engaged in licensed activity. If your SIA card has been lost or stolen it is essential that you tell the police and the SIA as soon as you can – this enables them to be on the lookout for anyone posing as an SIA Licence holder using your SIA card and performing abnormal SIA jobs, a circumstance which without your prompt action could result in trouble for you.
To learn more about SIA licensing critera click here.
Penalties for operating without a licence
For those doing Security jobs or supplying unlicensed security staff, without an SIA licence the penalties are currently as follows;
1) summary conviction at a Magistrate's Court, Sheriff Court or District Court: a maximum penalty of six months imprisonment and/or a fine of up to £5,000, or
2) (for supplying unlicensed staff only) trial on indictment at Crown Court, High Court of Justiciary or Sheriff and jury trial: an unlimited fine and/or up to five years imprisonment.
Interested parties should seek their own independent legal advice on this matter if they are concerned about their individual liabilities.