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Security Industry Authority Registration brings Confidence and Stability to a Controversial Industry.

Updated on July 27, 2013

Beyond The Security Guard - An Ever Growing Range Of Security Requirements

While ever it is the case that businesses, and in some cases private individuals, have property and assets that need protecting, there will be a need for security guards and other services provided by the security industry.

The scope of these companies goes much further nowadays than it ever did in the past. The stereotypical image of a security guard, usually that of a retired gentleman, probably an ex policemen, working for pin money to supplement his pension, is no longer valid. That is not to say anything derogatory about ex-policemen or older gentlemen in general, they did and still do perform a valuable role in many businesses, but rather to try and dispel the myth that the provision of security services is something that can be done on the cheap with minimal investment in recruitment and staff training.

Nowadays, the range of services offered by Security Company’s is very much wider than simply the provision of security guards on commercial property. Standards are much higher, customer expectations are much higher and now, there is an additional set of benchmarks for companies operating in the security industry to measure up to. These benchmarks are set by the regulatory body set up to ensure high standards within the security industry, known as the Security Industry Authority, or SIA.

The Winds Of Change & The Role Of Technology

Although security guard provision remains an important part of the product portfolio of security companies, many other services such as CCTV camera monitoring, pub and nightclub door security, key holding and Event Security are growing in popularity and gaining importance as revenue streams within security companies. As these new markets develop, standards are being revised to incorporate changes in legislation and in public expectations as to how security should be implemented and monitored, especially in public places.

Changes in technology have played a major part in shaping the development of security company services. CCTV is now a relatively low cost technology and it is possible to remotely monitor several locations from a central monitoring station, thanks to the connectivity available across the Internet. Instead of having personnel on the ground at each site being monitored, the cameras can be used to detect any potential threats and mobile response teams deployed quickly when necessary.

Discrete, high powered radio transceivers are also available now in a form that is virtually impossible to see yet these devices keep security staff in shopping malls, event venues and elsewhere in constant touch with one-another. At the first sign of any problem, staff can be deployed to the trouble zone without the need for disconcerting public address system announcements. Security personnel do not have to carry bulky equipment around with them since these devices usually fit inconspicuously in the ear.

Security At Special Events

The growth in number of large concert venues and music festivals has also had a dramatic effect on the way in which the public perceive security.

Of course, everyone accepts that security is necessary at such events, both for safety reasons and for the security of the assets of the proprietor and site owners, but they do not want the happy atmosphere of an entertainment event being spoiled by over aggressive looking security personnel.

At such events it is the public safety of course which takes precedent but security of staff, cash and of course the artists themselves are also very important.

Traditional uniforms have, to a large extent, been replaced by clothing more in keeping with the occasion and, although security staff can still be identified as such, they certainly tend to blend in more harmoniously.

The History & Role Of The SIA

The SIA was formed in 2003 and operates under the terms of the Private Security Industry Act 2001.

The purpose of the SIA is to regulate the private security industry in an effective manner and to reduce criminality whilst also raising the standard of work carried out by its members and recognising quality customer service. The SIA covers the whole of the United Kingdom.

The SIA has two principle tasks:

  1. The compulsory licensing of individuals who undertake certain designated activities within the private security industry
  2. Management of the voluntary “Approved Contractor Scheme”, which benchmarks private security companies against independently assessed performance criteria.

What Services Are Covered By The SIA Licensing Scheme ?

The SIA licensing scheme encompasses services including:

  • Manned guarding of property and assets, (including security guarding, door supervision, close protection, cash and valuables in transit, and public space surveillance using CCTV)
  • Key holding
  • Vehicle immobilising and parking control enforcement.

Licensing ensures that private security operatives are ‘fit and proper’ persons and that they are suitably trained and qualified to do their jobs.

Approved Contractor Status

The SIA “Approved Contractor Scheme” introduced a set of operational and performance standards for suppliers of private security services to comply to. Organisations that are able to demonstrate that they can adhere to those standards are awarded Approved Contractor status.

This accreditation provides customers of security companies who hold it with proof of a supplier’s commitment to quality and good customer service.

It makes good sense then, when seeking to employ the services of a security company, to ensure that they are enrolled into the scheme. To do so will ensure that your business will not only be protected but that security services will be carried out on your site(s) with a high level of professionalism by suitably trained and reliable personnel.

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