Statement from Michelle Russell, Acting Chief Executive of the SIA, on the new licence-linked qualifications

On the day before they come into force, Michelle Russell, Chief Executive of the SIA (Security Industry Authority), marks the introduction of the changes to training for SIA licence applicants and licence holders. The statement confirms the changes, the context behind their introduction and their importance in public protection.


“Tomorrow marks the introduction of the updates to the existing qualifications needed to apply for an SIA licence for the first time.


I want to take this opportunity to confirm the changes, why they are needed, and how this will benefit the industry and the public at large.


“The private security industry plays an important role in the protection of the public. We have updated the qualification standards to keep security operatives and the communities they serve as safe as possible. These changes are important to ensure that security operatives can continue to protect the public.


“The changes are based on the views of expert stakeholders and we also considered recommendations from various coroner’s inquests. They reflect extensive research and discussion with the industry, including a public consultation in which over 6,000 front line staff and security businesses responded. The consultation showed high levels of support for the new training requirements and we are still getting this supportive feedback.


“We have heard recent concerns from some parts of the industry about the timing of the changes, particularly given the events of the last year. There will never be a good time to introduce changes. We have already proactively delayed implementation of the new requirements by a year. We announced the new dates for the changes last September to enable training providers and businesses to plan ahead.


“The public consultation also raised concerns that skills fade over time, as the private security industry currently has no requirements for mandatory refresher training. This will start to change from 1 October 2021, with the introduction of top-up qualifications in safety critical areas for operatives renewing their door supervisor or security guard licences. The top up requirements will only affect existing licence holders when they come to renew their licence after this date. This means that these changes for existing licence holders will roll out over the course of the next three years.


“We have worked hard to mitigate the burden by ensuring that the new training requirement is open to flexible delivery through a mixture of self-study, virtual classroom and face-to-face training. We will also be providing added flexibility from 1 October 2021, to enable Door Supervision licence holders to renew to a Security Guarding licence instead if they prefer. This means operatives will not be required to complete additional unnecessary training and allows them to have a licence that better reflects how they are deployed.


“We do not control or set costs of training but recognise this will be an additional financial burden. In April 2020, we reduced the licence fee for individual licences for all sectors from £210 to £190.


“It is understandable that some sectors are concerned at their ability to mobilise security operatives quickly back to pre-Covid levels, as the latest lockdown restrictions ease. Our records show that there are high numbers of people with existing licences, and high numbers seeking to both join the industry as new applicants and to renew their licence. The total number of active SIA licences is 434,437. The number of Door Supervisor licence holders in February 2021 was 282,193, an increase on the previous two years (270,307 and 244,794 respectively). There is also an increased number of Door Supervisor applications so far this year compared with the previous two years.


“The security industry plays a vital role in public protection. Well-trained, professional, reliable security is an essential part of a business’ front line services to customers. The new qualifications will help ensure that this industry is recognised and valued as a profession. We are working and want to continue to work in partnership with the industry to deliver the best security standards possible for the protection of the public.”