ASIS survey gives thumbs up to continued security industry regulation and inclusion of In House

Mike Hurst

A recent survey conducted by the UK chapter of ASIS had a response from 25% of its 720 members with a clear message on the way forward for regulation in the private security industry. The two major groups of respondents were In House/Corporate Security (41%) and Consultants (30.6%). On the question of whether the respondents would support the licensing of In House Security, 73.8% of the responses supported the licensing of In House security personnel. Ninety five percent (95.1%) of the respondents supported the registration of businesses who operated within the scope of the regulated security sector, who would also be subject to minimum standards. However, when it came to registered organisations being able to issue licenses, subject to CRB and similar checks 56% were in favour and 33.3% were not. When it came to the Approved Contractors Scheme (ACS) 55.8% of respondents indicated they were happy with the current format and process of the scheme, with 37.9% of those in favour wanting the introduction of an enhanced ACS. Surprisingly 30% of the respondents were not familiar with the ACS requirements. When it came to the question on who should control the new regulatory regime views became more divided with 28.2% suggesting an industry based body, 27.5% of the respondents favoured a government department and 2.1 % indicated the police should run the new regulatory regime. Similar to the SIA Small Business Network survey ,reported on last week, 45.8% of the respondent suggested a combination of the former three would be a good mix to run the new regulatory regime. In addition to completing the survey the respondents made 85 comments which included;

“If compulsory business licensing becomes a reality then there needs to be a very robust but equitable system for auditing both large and one man band companies fairly,”

“Needs to be 1 body – the old boy network leaves anything else to open to abuse,” and

With the nine years experience of auditing such companies I favour the existing independent statutory body the SIA.”

Mike Hurst, the ASIS Vice Chairman – Strategy, told Infologue.comSometimes getting members to reply to survey can be a slog, but in this case the response was immediate and overwhelming, with about 25% of the membership replying within in 36  hours!”ASIS International was founded in 1955 and is dedicated to increasing the effectiveness and productivity of security professionals by developing educational programs and materials that address broad security interests, such as the ASIS Annual Seminar and Exhibits, as well as specific security topics.

ASIS International

Founded in 1955, ASIS is dedicated to increasing the effectiveness and productivity of security professionals by developing educational programs and materials that address broad security interests, such as the ASIS Annual Seminar and Exhibits, as well as specific security topics.

With 6,500 holders worldwide, the Certified Protection Professional (CPP) is the leading Security Management designation and has formal UK academic recognition.

The ASIS UK Chapter offers its 720 members, unparalleled educational, networking and certification opportunities.

How the survey was compiled

An on-line survey was set up on and all the members of ASIS International were emailed the link and asked to complete the survey.

The response was immediate and overwhelming with approximately a quarter of the membership replying within 24 hours: which indicates how seriously ASIS members take the issue of security industry regulation.

The results of the survey are set out below.


  • It should only be kept if the officer does not have to pay for it at any time during or after his or her employment with a guarding company.
  • do not see the need for key holding
  • would strongly recommend that only one license is required instead of having to pay for separate licenses.
  • Can be included in Security Guarding
  • I’m not necessarily concerned with licensing these but there needs to be a way of regulating them and ensuring due diligence is undertaken.
  • The more control of who operates in the industry the better
  • Licensing is essential, to ensure that security contractors provide a minimum level of quality
  • All current licensed activities must remain subject to scrutiny and oversight which -although not perfect-has been provided by regulation.
  • Licensing has introduced screening standards that provide assurance to end users.
  • Licensing is a positive step as long as it is commensurate with the activity.  Appropriate control measures ensure confidence in the end user or customer.
  • The licensing should cover all areas of licensing but should also reflect different levels of licensing. There should be one licence with separate endorsements allowed on the licence
  • Close protection is too varied a practice to be covered by the current license which has flooded the market with too many unqualified ‘qualified’ people.


  • I would also advise that all service providers must be registered and licensed.
  • If compulsory business licensing becomes a reality then there needs to be a very robust but equitable system for auditing both large and one man band companies fairly
  • There has been no improvement in the standard of guarding just an increase in costs.
  • Otherwise we negate the whole premise of the Private Security Industry Act 2001 which sought to raise and implement standards. Notwithstanding any industry debate as to the quality and level of the current standards.
  • I think the industry has drastically improved under the current more stringent requirements.
  • Not prepared to answer – a leading question.



  • Needs to be 1 body – the old boy network leaves anything else to open to abuse.
  • As long as regular checks in place
  • This should only be done by a government/industry sector approved authority
  • The de-centralisation of license issue would invariably lead to variation of standards – and the possible intrusion of commercial interests.
  • Open to abuse.
  • After thorough scrutiny and approval and to include all levels of the company, management as well as inspectors, trainers and examiners/
  • This must remain totally and completely independent of service providers
  • Needs detail to be able to judge
  • If licensing is conducted in-house, there is always the temptation to cut corners in the process
  • Not if the organisation isn’t fully independent. There should be no link to bodies applying for licences
  • We need a totally independent authority and everyone in existing (including the BSIA) cannot offer that independency when they have senior people who work in industry.
  • As long as there are strict guidelines and charges so as not to become simply a money orientated scheme.
  • As long as those registered organisations are deemed above reproach and fully qualified to issue a license dependant on criteria being met after strict vetting.
  • CRB checks and history must be included.
  • Potentially in favour depending on how strict the guidelines would be. I would not want to dilute the process in any way.
  • Such a check just means the person has not been caught!
  • I would prefer that we have a central organisation to ensure consistency of method and standards
  • The SIA took far too long and was far too prescriptive in taking decisions, risk managing and issuing licences.
  • Relevant training also needs to be complete as well and CRB checks. Through audit by regulators on those who issue licences vetting process carried out
  • Licensing requirements should be overhauled and replaced bya requirement for CRB check only.
  • Licenses are expensive enough, under Govt control at least costs are kept to a minimum, introduction of an authorised organisation will introduce an addition cost burden for their profit margin and the monopoly they will have on a mandatory requirement.
  • But these Companies be subject of sanction if found flouting the rules.
  • With the nine years experience of auditing such companies I favour the existing independent statutory body the SIA.
  • My previous experience is that security companies will tell you they have trained staff then provide persons who clearly are not able to undertake the duties.
  • Needs a national regulatory body as per the requirements of PSIA 2001 sect 1 to ensure continuity.
  • Ensures a quick turn around on applications and equally a licence can be withdrawn much quicker again to ensure confidence
  • It would depend upon the organisation. If it was a trade/professional body then no but if it was a body created by statute then yes.
  • There should one organisation that provides all regulatory control.
  • It should be a third party
  • The credible reputation of the licensing authority is paramount.
  • As long as the ‘Registered Organisations’ are credible – yes. This is a circular question – Who guards the guards? Thus who would accredit the registered organisation?
  • One place means less likelihood of gaps occurring.
  • All licenses should be strictly controlled and issued by the appropriate licensing authority only. This would reduce the likelihood of abuse of the system and keep the criminal / corrupt elements of our industry at bay.


  • Must be compulsory
  • Does not favour SMEs through prohibitive costs
  • No continuity among auditing companies
  • This is a matter for the market
  • The industry “elite” group that was forming seemed only to be an attempt by some companies to introduce a new tier for marketing purposes.
  • To many cowboys and a few criminals have it undermining its integrity
  • It doesn’t provide sufficient differentiation between suppliers.
  • Same standard for all – make tighter if required
  • Background screening needs to actively pursued to try to prevent illegals working in the industry
  • You either reach the standard requirement or you don’t.  Scrap the points system

Other Comments

  • I like the clear line the SIA have – either license or no license, I wouldn’t want G4S to have the monopoly over licensing also!      
  • If licensing continues the security officer should not have to cover the cost either indirectly or directly (see question 2).     
  • As a previous employee of SITO and the BSIA I would be very concerned if these organisations in their current form have anything to do with regulation.  The Industry HAS to be regulated by the Government and not used as a cash cow by The Security Alliance!!         
  • As long as the input into who the body is comes from more than 2 or 3 people like before there are a lot more of us that would like a way of input to the industry we have worked in for years please show us the respect of an opinion on who runs us and training input etc         
  • A mixed control board representing the Government (Home Office, Police); the user; the contractors AND the workforce would guide a government agency who would implement / enforce.      
  • NOT a mixture of ASIS, Security Institute, Security bodies or anything that can show bias or favour.  It should be independently recruited.      
  • I believe a body representing the industry should be involved (probably not the Alliance as it’s currently service provider dominated) but there will need to be a degree of “statutory” involvement to rigorously investigate and prosecute illegality  
  • Either a Govt. Dept or a security industry body authorised and audited by a Govt. Dept would be sufficient
  • I think whoever controls the new regime will need the appropriate powers to enforce the regulations.
  • Since the SIA is essentially self-funding, the arguments about reducing government costs by doing away with quangos has no basis.  I can see no reason why it should be dissolved other than (1) a misunderstanding by government of the utility of regulation or (2) as a result of successful lobbying by those who are opposed to it.
  • The security alliance hasn’t even asked the membership what they want and is made up of Industry MD’s with an ulterior motives         
  • An independent regulator, perhaps an auditor (LRQA etc)        
  • Police budgets are not at a standard where their control would improve the system.         
  • As I don’t agree with it no-one.
  • The introduction of regulation improves the image of the Industry and it would be a retrograde step if licensing were to be abolished. However the Security Alliance MUST move quickly. There are already mumblings from guards, who have more often than not borne the costs of licensing from a low earnings threshold, about renewals/extension of scope when the future of their “investment” is in doubt 
  • There will be a requirement to legislate decisions.  These must be achieved in conjunction with Police and Government organizations. Therefore it cannot be achieved in isolation or without consulting specialists.   
  • Providing its not the same companies and people who influenced the SIA.  There were some people on the board who had little or no knowledge of CP and yet influenced how it was to be run.      
  • There should be no direct replacement for the SIA which is an unnecessary layer of central government activity.  Security personnel should only require a CRB checks with any alleged criminal offences carried out by security companies investigated by the police.  Current trading standards, employment, H&S and related legislation and regulation provide sufficient powers for the indirect regulation of the industry.     
  • Govt departmental responsibility to ensure standards and unilateral acceptance, Police as ensuring the mechanisms are in place for prevention of fraud, organised crime etc and finally the representative body to represent the practicalities of implementation and advice on standards to be pursued. This will then help to maintain the growing impression that the security sector is a responsible and professional sector to be involved in. 
  • Keep the SIA in a slimmed down role 
  • PSIA sections 1 and 2 clearly set out the basis for a government controlled body and why the industry needs one, to undermine these 2 sections is to undermine the whole act and we might as well sell badges to the highest bidder  
  • The industry is not mature enough to regulate itself; lawyers and doctors are self regulating and have considerable problems that the security industry should avoid.       
  • One day when we deserve a body representing the security industry similar to The Law Society; Institute of Chartered Accountants etc. But we still have a long way to go.
  • A council representing police, government and the security industry with staffing from experienced members of the above and paid through the licensing and fines for infringements of the regulations. should have an enforcement capability

ASIS Website