Infologue.com fully supports the position of the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) on opening the debate on in house licensing in the security guarding sector. However we believe that with a change of government, who weren’t to keen on regulating the security industry last time they were in power and more recently a hair’s breadth away from letting the axe fall on regulation in the security industry, this will require a well reasoned and cohesive approach from the private security sector. If the security industry continues with its resilient and united approach, which has been demonstrated over the past month, it could be successful.
Infologue.com believes the desire of the private security industry to include in house security operatives in regulatory framework is not born out protectionism, or discrepancies in remuneration, hours of work or even training levels. There are four good and cogent underlying reasons for this desire which are;
- The creation of a level playing field which will protect the public by ensuring minimum levels of training, criminality and conduct,
- The drive by the security industry towards professionalism, which is important to a much maligned industry who have mostly been in the public scrutiny for the wrong reasons,
- In the age of austerity greater reliance will be made of the security industry, contract or in house, to support the police in their never ending battle against terrorism, crime and social disorder and,
- Finally, common sense, there appears to no logic or fairness where the determination of who requires a licence is based on the type or category of employer. In essence it implies one type of employer is inferior to another. As Lord Digby Jones, former Director-General of the CBI and former United Kingdom Minister of State for Trade & Investment responded in 2003 to the In House issue “It b*ll*cks!!!”
The In House debate has long been a bone of contention within the private security industry being the prime motivation in initiating the award winning campaign “Four Issues Once Voice” by the Editor of Infologue.com and the Editor of SMT Online/ Info4Security.com, Brian Sims. The campaign resulted in the SIA conducting an extensive consultation exercise which included; “Our conclusion is that there is no clearly defined or substantiated risk to public protection to be addressed and that we are unable, at this time, to make a case which would justify extending our remit to include licensing of in-house guards. We will review the situation again in the 2012-2013 financial year.” (SIA Website) There was much comment on the findings made as a result of the consultation undertaken by the SIA which were “Our conclusion is that there is no clearly defined or substantiated risk to public protection to be addressed and that we are unable, at this time, to make a case which would justify extending our remit to include licensing of in-house guards.” (SIA Website)
We believe that this decision was made due to a lack of will on the part of the government of the day as well as a lack of cohesion on the part of the private security industry resulting in a lacklustre response to the consultation.
Infologue.com wonders what the reaction will be if the industry made its case on the in-house issue to the devolved governments of Scotland and Northern Ireland. Both authorities have shown steel by rejecting the planned demise of the Security Industry Authority. If the current cohesive mood of the industry persists there may be a better chance of success.