As we countdown to the end of 2022, we take time to pause and reflect on the past year, the highlights and achievements during what has been a fast and challenging year for all.
2022 marked the start of the end of the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK. Large public gatherings, celebrations, festivals, gigs and sporting events became possible again. The Commonwealth Games, Glastonbury, and the Platinum Jubilee are just some of the high-profile examples of the private security industry at its best in supporting public safety.
While the country mourned the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, thousands of you played your part protecting the public as people queued and took part in events to pay their respects.
You have continued to keep the public safe in all weathers every day this year with quiet valour and professionalism. We have also seen many reports of security operatives acting with kindness and bravery. On behalf of everyone at the SIA, we thank you for your continued service.
Stay alert stay safe
During this festive season, many of you will be working to keep the public safe in towns and cities across the UK. Staying vigilant throughout these winter months remains essential as threats of harm including terrorist threats have not gone away. The licensed security sector plays a critical role in deterrence, prevention, and when needed, response. You are also critical keeping people safe from predatory and unwanted attention and calling out unacceptable behaviour when you see it.
An industry to be proud of
2023 marks the 20th anniversary of the start of the Private Security Industry Act and licensed security. We will be reflecting on this throughout next year. With record levels of licence holders numbering over 400,000, for the industry there is much to be proud of. There have been considerable improvements in private security standards and public safety since regulation began. There is more to do.
This year saw the launch of a Private Security Industry Skills Board. The Skills Board is led and made of senior industry figures who want to drive improvement across the whole industry. Our role as regulator is to support the Skills Board’s work.
We will be working with the Board to support a strategic and long-term plan to skills development that will strengthen the contribution the industry makes to protecting the public and enhancing public safety, as well as increasing the ability of industry to attract, develop, reward and retain their employees and further professionalise private security. This is in turn should give confidence to buyers that well skilled professional security is not a desirable but an essential.
We are also excited about the progress this year of a government-approved apprentice scheme for front line security professionals which will be available early next year.
Looking ahead to 2023
As we look ahead to the coming year, we will stay focused on public safety. You will continue to see an increase in our visibility as we step up our compliance and enforcement work across the UK.
We will also continue to make further improvements to our licensing processes and digital systems so that our services are easier to access for our licence holders and approved contractors.
At the SIA we are proud to work with an industry that has risen to the challenges of this year. There is no doubt that the changing landscape in which the private security industry is operating, and the ongoing cost-of-living crisis will continue test the resolve of both individuals and businesses in 2023.
We thank our own teams at the SIA who work tirelessly to deliver and support the services we provide you.
What unites us with you in these uncertain times is our shared commitment to protecting the public and the pursuit of best practice in the private security industry.
We wish you and your colleagues and families a safe and happy Christmas and a great new year.
Heather Baily, Chair, Security Industry Authority
Michelle Russell, Chief Executive, Security Industry Authority