SIA is an acronym for Security Industry Agency. The SIA is a non-departmental, private sector organization that was established in 2003 and operates under the Private Security Industry Act 2001 under the law. Its area of mandate is the United Kingdom.
Role of the SIA
As a body aimed at regulating private security industry effectively,
It plays a major role in security guard licensing of the individuals in the security industry and the management of contractors that measure the merits and practices of the security firms that equip security officers, security guard training, supply products and services to security agencies and individuals business, and those security firms that provide security staff to different events, businesses, organizations and private citizens.
The SIA is, in other words, the governing agency that ensures there is a standard for education, training and practice in the UK security industry. The organization has an existing framework for validation of all security services. In addition, it’s a body that ensures and recognizes need for quality service in providing security in a bid to reduce criminality in the UK.
It is for this reason that by law any private security firms must be subjected to SIA standards and must meet those requirements so as to be fully operational. SIA evaluates licenses and validates and trains the personnel of these firms.
SIA licensing ensures that the persons working in the security firms, as well as security consultants, are up to muster training wise before the issuing of a security licence. The range of activities licensable includes vehicle tracking, restriction, movement and immobilization, key holding and manned guarding. Training activities also include specific licensing in door supervision, use of surveillance cameras, close protection, and guarding of valuables and cash on transit.
The sole purpose for the need to meet qualification requirements is to ensure that the individuals are capable of performing their duties in a manner that will not cause harm to themselves and the public.
For armed security guards the qualifications are generally stricter, as there is need to obtain firearms licence in addition to the SIA licence.
However, SIA doesn’t provide security training courses itself. They do vet or approve training provider firms though and focus on assessing these firms for the skills and knowledge that a license holder needs to have, such as complete formal training in a classroom setting. Applicants must also pass a criminal records check and a drug test.
Therefore before applying for the licence, the applicant must have undergone some type of security training course which will award a security guard certificate from an accredited training institution. Examples of SIA approved training centres include: the British Institute of Innkeeping Awarding Body (BIIAB), Buckinghamshire New University, and the City & Guilds.