A valuable and interesting debate was had around the work and future of the SIA at its annual conference yesterday. SIA vice chairman Robin Dahlberg welcomed delegates to the event -The SIA Journey: Have we gone far enough? held at Manchester Central. The introductory speech was delivered by SIA chairman Baroness Ruth Henig, who spoke on customer services, enforcement activity, and the future of regulation and particularly focused on the importance of stakeholder engagement. She said: “The SIA is not a lone traveller on the road to higher standards. We achieve the most when we work together and understand each other’s aims and objectives, and our roles in raising standards, and I hope today will bring us closer to that. I am confident that you will continue to make sure we work effectively with you to deliver public protection and to improve the quality of private security.”
Attendees then heard from Dr Adam White of the University of Sheffield, who gave an overview of the history of regulation over the past 55 years to set the work of the SIA in context. He said: “It is important to keep this aspirational and ambitious side of the regulation story alive and fresh in our minds; and to remember that these debates are one part of a much longer story. A story featuring many people who for decades fought for the very right to have these debates within the framework of statutory regulation.”
The third speaker, Professor Peter J. D’Arcy, Advisor to the Abu Dhabi Minister of the Interior, gave a global insight, comparing other private security industry regulatory regimes with that of Great Britain, and stressing the importance of training and supervision in raising standards. He said: “The industry is becoming more professional as time passes, it is constantly evolving. When I look at the SIA I think you have an understanding and empathetic regulator.
Prof D’Arcy concluded: “There is one theme that is coming out today, and that is that the need for a professional private security industry.” Delegates then heard from Graeme McCabe from the Home Office who described the Government’s Better Regulation agenda, and the SIA in this context. He said: “This applies in the case of regulatory bodies like the SIA – it listens to its stakeholders, liaises with the Home Office on what needs to be done, then follows the Impact Assessment process. The SIA is recognised within the Home Office and by the Better Regulation Executive as having fully bought in to the Better Regulation Agenda.”
During the day, several seminar sessions were held giving the opportunity for attendees to give their input and hold open debate on key topics. These forums considered the future and standards of the Approved Contractor Scheme, SIA communication and customer services strategy, and assessing threats and opportunities in the future of the private security industry.