BSIA calls for review of in-house licensing

The licensing of in-house security personnel is an issue that, while contentious, remains at the forefront of the private security industry’s agenda due to what some view to be the shortcomings of the Private Security Industry Act of 2001, writes James Kelly, the British Security Industry Association, Chief Executive. Through intensive lobbying activity a decade ago, the BSIA was instrumental in the introduction of regulation of the private security industry, resulting in the introduction of licensing for contracted security personnel, along with the creation of the Security Industry Authority. While this has gone a long way towards improving the standards of training and professionalism within the industry, the BSIA now feels that this licensing must go further, and will call upon the next Government to review the Private Security Industry Act to include in-house security officers – those who are directly employed by a business or retailer to carry out security services on their premises.

“It is the view of the BSIA that the public deserves to feel safe in the knowledge that the people protecting them while shopping or on business are operating to the high standards of quality set by the SIA and the rest of the industry, and we are certain that many people would be surprised, if not outraged to discover that the officers protecting them in busy public places such as shopping centres are often unlicensed and have not been subjected to thorough background checks. The failure of the original Act to include in-house personnel consequently leaves the public more vulnerable and exposed to risk. It is also our concern that individuals who have not met the criteria for an SIA license may automatically turn to an in-house role, resulting in the in-house sector potentially being populated by personnel that do not meet the strict criteria of the rest of the licensed industry. Negative consumer perceptions of security officers – demonstrated by recent comments made by Jeremy Clarkson – will only be compounded by such a divisive situation, and the BSIA sees this as something that must be avoided at all costs for the good of the industry as a whole.”

“The BSIA is currently working on its strategy for engaging with the new Government post-Election, and plans to make contact with key political figures at the earliest opportunity to investigate the implications of an early review of the Private Security Industry Act as it applies to in-house licensing.” James Kelly concluded.

The In House issue was raised as on of the four key “unfair” regulatory issues by in 2005 and was joined by SMT in 2006 to form the award winning campaign Four Issues One Voice. In May 2009 the Security Industry Authority announced that there was insufficient evidence found to support licensing of in-house security guards. (Read Article) In August 2009 the request of well known security industry lawyer Paul Housego produced an article slating the SIA Review. (Read INFOLOGUE.COM – LAWYER SLATES SIA IN HOUSE REVIEW)

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