SIA to be scrapped?

The BBC claimed tonight that the Home Office is planning to scrap the Security Industry Authority (SIA) as part of the Government’s widely planned “Bonfire of the Quangos” which seeks to reduce cost, red tape and return accountability to the grass roots.

“Abolishing the SIA will not save taxpayers money because it is largely self-financing, but a Home Office document, seen by the BBC, suggests the move would save security firms money and contribute to “reducing burdensome regulation.   The document suggests the industry has matured enough to police itself. “The BBC news report claimed.

A Home Office spokesman told; “The Government is committed to making substantial reforms of its public bodies to increase accountability and reduce their number and cost. All departments are working with the Cabinet Office and treasury to assess our public bodies and ensure they perform an essential role which has to be carried out by Government and cannot be provided more efficiently elsewhere. No final decision has been made and we expect to make an announcement in due course.”

Responding to the announcement the Trade Body the Chief Executive of International Professional Security Association, Justin Bentley told “The International Professional Security Association believes that the intention in the leaked government memo, which the BBC has obtained, paints an inaccurate picture of the security industry and that the abolition of the Security Industry Authority would be a severe step backwards.”

“The security industry and the employees within the industry may welcome the financial relief of removing the costs of licensing, however the risk of the criminal element re-entering the industry is still too great to justify abolishing licenses. With cuts likely to be made in the budgets of all police services, now is a time when the private security industry which will take up the slack, needs to be licensed by government to ensure public confidence remains high. Whilst licensing started in 2003, it was introduced in various stages and has been in place for a relatively short time in Scotland and Northern Ireland. The positive benefits to the industry in England and Wales must be seen to be implemented in these countries as well. Greater financial prudence and taking advantage of improvements in technology in areas such as the Criminal Records Bureau should be sufficient to reduce the costs and hence lessen the financial burden on the industry, without reducing the benefits brought in by licensing. As a trade association with a membership consisting of both individuals and companies, we wish to encourage the government to not make any hasty decisions and to allow the Security Industry Authority to continue with its task of ensuring that the public is not placed unnecessarily at risk.”

SIA Website

Home Office Website