The SIA’s Future: A Response from Scotland

Following their meeting last Thursday, 7th October, the Skills for Security Scottish Employer Consultation Group for the manned guarding sector agreed a letter which was sent to the Home Secretary with copies to Kenny MacAskill MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Justice in the Scottish Government and other members of the Westminster and Scottish Parliaments. Russel Kerr, MD of SecuriGroup and Chair of the consultation group wrote on their behalf:

“Dear Home Secretary,

Regulation of the Private Security Industry

I write to you in my capacity as Chairman of the Skills for Security Employer Consultation Group, which represents the views of over 30 security companies operating within Scotland. At a meeting today, there was unanimous concern raised over media speculation surrounding the future regulation of the private security industry. The suggested reform of public bodies proposed by the Westminster Government, has cast doubt over the future of The Security Industry Authority (SIA) as the industry’s regulatory body despite the absence of any tangible financial benefit to the State as security regulation is self funded via the licensing fee.

There are key benefits of the existing regulatory framework, which has:

• reduced the level of criminality within the private security industry;
• encouraged the raising of standards in training and frontline delivery of services;
• facilitated the development of meaningful partnerships between industry suppliers and clients;
• increased trust and collaborative working with the police and other agencies; and
• led to an improvement in the public perception of the industry.

Crucially, the partnership between the security industry and the SIA, with its Approved Contractor Scheme, has finally begun to successfully educate buyers of security services allowing them to make informed procurement decisions. This has helped to marginalise the activities of companies that have links to serious and organised crime. The importance of selecting a credible and legitimate security provider has been demonstrated on a national level in Scotland with the Public Procurement Notice for Government funded projects and the Scotland Excel framework agreement for the supply of security services to Scottish local authorities, which now stipulates a mandatory requirement for the engagement of SIA Approved Contractors.

Concerns have also been raised over the legacy that any disruption of the regulatory framework will have on the industry as it prepares itself for the unique challenges of the Olympic and Commonwealth Games.

There is unwavering consensus amongst the group that the abolition of the SIA is a retrograde step for the industry and that more time must be afforded to a wider consultation with the industry and its stakeholders. The industry has made huge improvements since regulation was introduced but we feel as a whole, is not yet mature enough to regulate itself.

I would be happy to discuss the concerns of our group in further detail and have attached a list of member companies for your reference.”

Skills for Security Website