Research shows overall positive impact of SIA licensing

Overall, licensing has had a positive impact on the private security industry, a study published today by the Security Industry Authority has found. However, a worrying level of violence against security operatives was reported, with further work by the SIA already underway to investigate this. The Impact of Regulation research studied the Door Supervision and Security Guarding sectors. It was commissioned by the SIA to measure the industry’s view of the longer term impact SIA licensing and create an up-to-date picture of the state of the industry as a result of licensing and associated training

Interviews were conducted with 1148 licensed individuals, both suppliers and operatives. Overall, the findings were positive.

 As a result of licensing Security Guarding

  • suppliers noted: improved staff recruitment and retention; increased trust and improved relationships between guards and police; new money or investment from third parties.
  • operatives noted: improved range of skills, ability to do their job and future career options.

As a result of licensing Door Supervision

  • suppliers noted: clients recognising the value of licensing; licensed staff  better able to deal with security threats; insurance benefits.
  • operatives noted: improved career opportunities and job skills; better relationship with the police; increased chances of gaining more responsibility in future; more ability and confidence to do their job.
  • both noted: improved public perceptions of the sector particularly in professionalism of operatives; a decrease in criminality and increase in public trust as a result of criminal record checks.

However, there were concerns reported about the levels of respect received by operatives from the public, with high levels of both physical and verbal violence reported, particularly by door supervisors.

  • Two thirds of door supervisors reported having been subjected to violence in the past. More than 90% of those who had been working in the sector for more than five years reporting being attacked, either verbally or physically.
  • Just under half of security guards said they had been subjected to some form of violence in the past. Two-thirds of suppliers claimed that their staff had been subjected to violence. Security guards were more likely to have been subjected to verbal assaults than physical attack.

The SIA plans to carry out research into the levels of violence shown towards door supervisors and their ability to deal with it. Already in place are new competencies for the licence-linked qualifications, including training in Physical Intervention skills for all new door supervisors, and a compulsory Conflict Management element for Door Supervision, Security Guarding, Close Protection and Vehicle Immobilisation.

The SIA has also assisted in developing guidance on risk assessment to the Door Supervision and retail security sectors, and Chief Executive Bill Butler has signed the GMB’s SafeGuard Charter, which aims to promote and develop good practice and principles to reduce and deal with violence.

SIA chief executive Bill Butler said: “I would like to thank the respondents for giving up their time to allow us to complete this work. The results show that, although we can still improve, overall, the industry believes that SIA licensing has had a positive impact. What is very worrying is the unacceptable level of violence reported by security operatives and we have already begun further work into this area. While there are some areas the SIA cannot influence, pay and conditions for example, we have improved efficiency and customer services to support those in the industry as they drive forward professionalism and best practice.”

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