David Dickinson, Chief Executive of the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) announced that the BSIA is supporting the Four Issues One Voice Campaign of the SMT and Infologue.com.
The British Security Industry Association (BSIA) fully supports the Four Issues, One Voice Campaign (SMT, April 2006, pp34-36). It focuses on issues that have been at the very heart of the Association’s work during these past three years. We commend Security Management Today and Infologue.com for engaging so many different organisations in such an important debate about the future of our industry. It is through initiatives such as this that industries become professions and aspirations turn into reality. In terms of the licensing of in-house officers, the BSIA totally supports the campaign’s aims in this area. Indeed, we have ‘constantly and vociferously’ lobbied for the inclusion of in-house staff from the moment the Private Security Industry Bill was published at the end of 2000. In-house was included in the original White Paper, but there was no explanation as to why it was then withdrawn from the draft Bill. Our concerns centre on the issue of double standards and the creation of a loophole that can be exploited.
Industry representation on regulatory matters is, of course, essential. There is indeed a good deal to commend the Irish model. Now that there is no longer a Stakeholder Advisory Group, the industry might reasonably expect to have one of its representatives on the Security Industry Authority (SIA) Board. However, there is a second issue here, more specifically relating to representation per se. While the SIA has adopted an admirably open stance towards industry consultation, we cannot assume that our modern Regulator will stay in its current guise forever. It has already been mooted that the SIA might somehow be subsumed by the Health and Safety Executive at some point in time. It is for this reason that Trade Association representation remains essential.
When it comes to fair charging in relation to licensing and the Approved Contractor Scheme, the transitionary period was not a perfect solution, but nonetheless was the most practical for processing such a large volume of applications. As the Regulator has already explained, the Criminal Records Bureau check is for three years and, thus, the licence validation period cannot be extended. Those companies who left application submissions to the last minute [-] and therefore did not meet the licensing deadline [-] may well have saved money in the short term, but they have risked their long-term reputation with clients. They may also have damaged their reputation (which is arguably invaluable).
The fourth and final strand of Four Issues, One Voice focuses on cutting red tape. The BSIA is actively engaged in the debate about CCTV licensing, and agrees that this should be simpler, but also tailored to the different roles involved in CCTV operation. We are lobbying the SIA on this issue at present, and very much look forward to a positive outcome in the near future. In terms of other areas for possible improvement, the idea of a ‘driving licence’ equivalent for officers with multiple licences would be a logical way forward. It would indeed help to cut down on red tape.