With only eight weeks until deadline day, time is running out for security workers to apply for their SIA licence. From December 2009, Northern Ireland will join Security Industry Authority regulation, when it will be law for individuals working within designated sectors of the private security industry to have a Security Industry Authority licence.
From the point of completing the training qualification to receiving the complete licence takes an average of eight weeks so security workers need to apply as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. The introduction of regulation of the private security industry brings Northern Ireland in line with England, Scotland and Wales, where licensing has already been successfully introduced over the past few years.
Andy Drane, SIA Director of Compliance & Enforcement and leader of the implementation programme, said: “If you don’t have an SIA licence by December 1 then it will be illegal for you to work in many security sectors. Training for SIA licensing has been available in Northern Ireland since the beginning of 2009 and individuals working in the private security industry have had the opportunity to apply for their SIA licence since May. A number of people have already started to make good progress towards getting licensed but there are still a number of potential applicants who have not yet applied. I urge you to submit your applications as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.”
An SIA licence will be required for each different licensable activity undertaken in Northern Ireland. These are:
- Cash and Valuables in Transit
- Close Protection
- Door Supervision
- Immobilisation, restriction and removal of vehicles
- Key Holding
- Public Space Surveillance (CCTV)
- Security Guard
Training is available across all sectors of the industry and all training providers throughout NI are listed on the SIA website at: www.the-sia.org.uk/home/training. The legislation aims to improve safety in streets, clubs and bars across Northern Ireland by ensuring that all private security workers are trained to effectively deal with many scenarios. This will provide continuity throughout the industry. Applications from security suppliers who wish to become part of the SIA’s voluntary Approved Contractor Scheme are also being accepted. Firms have to prove that they meet certain quality standards in order to gain ACS status.
Those companies that have already got their staff licensed in good time are likely to be in a strong position to win business from those who fall behind. Business managers would be wise to liaise with their security provider to ensure that they are on track with licensing and will be in a position to maintain continuity of service.