UK Security Business Licensing from 2014

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Earlier this year the SIA confirmed that Business licensing will be brought in in 2014 following much speculation over their own future and nationwide consultation with focus groups over how regulation might look.

The big difference from the current regulatory regime is that the SIA will regulate businesses operating in the designated areas of the private security industry that are currently only policed by the licensing of individuals. It will be a criminal offence for a business to provide such a security service unless the business is approved (licensed) to do so by the SIA and the SIA will publish an online register of regulated businesses. Currently, the scheme for businesses is the Approved Contractor Scheme, which is voluntary and criticisms of it include that it is not well known or understood by customers of the Security Industry.

In order to be licensed, businesses will need to demonstrate that they meet the regulation criteria and comply with certain terms and conditions, which will include conformance with the relevant British Standards, such as BS7858 for vetting and BS 7984 for key-holding.

This doesn’t mean the end for personal licensing however, but that businesses will take over many of the responsibilities that were previously in the hands of the individual. They will have to ensure that a licence application process is carried out for its employees confirming their identity, address history, qualifications, and right to work in the UK. This may be through an SIA trusted partner; the company itself (with approval) or by an approved third party.

The hope is that business licensing will spell the end of some of the cowboys who spoil the name of the industry and operate practises such as paying cash in hand or have self-employed workers. This is just an excuse to make easy money without scruples for the taxpayer, the employee and at the expense of legitimate security companies. It also means that the customer is likely to get a poorer service, with illegally operating, possibly unlicensed staff who may well not be covered by insurance.

We live in hope, though, not certainty.

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