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Government Licensing Advice UK Print





Security Licensing is a serious issue and can leave you or your company with some serious questions to be answered if you have failed to meet the licensing requirements.

If you are operating illegally without a license, it can be a strain on you or your employees, thus leaving you open to scrutiny and constraints.

If you are licensed, it not only shows that you are a responsible employer or employee, it also maintains trust in others and puts you ahead of the game. We’ve all heard the saying, “Don’t get caught out”, here at the SECURITY WEBSITE that is exactly what we will try and help you to avoid.

Our experts here have come up with a plethora of useful guidelines and courses that will help you stay ahead of the game.

Check out our Courses and learning page that will ensure you are armed with the correct course and qualifications for your employment.



The Security Industry Authority (SIA) is an organisation responsible for regulating the private security industry within the UK. They are a small independent government body established in 2003, reporting to the Home Secretary under the terms of the Private Security Industry Act 2001. As a non-departmental public body with the sponsorship of the Home Office they contribute to the overall aims and objectives of that department. They have two main duties. One is the compulsory licensing of individuals undertaking designated activities within the private security industry; the other is to manage the voluntary Approved Contractor Scheme which measures private security suppliers against independently assessed criteria. They work with many different organisations, sharing information, ideas and knowledge which helps them maintain high standards in the work that they do. The Security Industry Authority has strong relationships with the Home Office, courts in England, Wales and Scotland, local authorities, police forces and the Association of Chief Police Officers in England, Wales and Scotland. Their active partnerships with awarding bodies and Qualification Regulation Authorities have been very useful in their efforts to combat training and Security Industry malpractice.

It was acknowledged by the public, the government and the industry itself that the criminal element in private security needed to be removed and standards of professionalism raised. In 2001, the Private Security Industry Act addressed these issues by allowing for the regulation of licensing the industry through a new regulator, the Security Industry Authority. Since then, some of the benefits of regulation to the private security industry have included increased levels of

professionalism and probity, the reduction of staff turnover, and greater involvement in the Government co-ordinated approach to national security.

The SIA licenses those working in sectors of the private security industry in England, Wales, and Scotland, and we will be regulating Northern Ireland in 2009.

The activities defined by the Private Security Industry Act 2001 are:

Manned guarding, which includes:

Cash and valuables in transit

Close protection

Door supervision

Public space surveillance (CCTV)

Security guarding

Immobilisation, restriction and removal

of vehicles – which includes wheel


• Key holding.

The Private Security Industry Act 2001 also allows us to license private investigators, security consultants and precognition agents, but at the moment

these sectors are not licensed. To get an SIA licence, an applicant needs to be over 18, hold a recognised qualification relevant to the security sector, and pass a criminal record and other fit and proper person checks. There is no legal responsibility for the SIA to carry out right to work checks – that is the role of the employer – but we are continually improving our processes to ensure as far as we reasonably can, that SIA licence holders are not illegal workers.

Licensing Queries and Answers

Who Needs a Close Protection Licence?

A Close Protection licence is required when guarding one or more individuals against assault or against injuries that might be suffered in consequence of the unlawful conduct of others.

This applies if your services are supplied for the purposes of or in connection with any contract to a consumer.


Two Types of Licence

There are two types of SIA licence:

A front line licence is required if undertaking licensable activity, other than key holding activities (this also covers undertaking non-front line activity). A front line licence is in the form of a credit card-sized plastic card that must be worn, subject to the licence conditions.

A non-front line licence is required for those who manage, supervise and/or employ individuals who engage in licensable activity, as long as front line activity is not carried out - this includes directors* or partners. A non-front line licence is issued in the form of a letter that also covers key holding activities.

*For the purposes of the Private Security Industry Act 2001, "director" means executive and non-executive directors, shadow directors, parent company directors and corporate entities holding a directorship.

If you have a non-front line licence you do not need to get another one if you are involved in another area of non-front line licensable activity (for example: if you are a director of a firm supplying close protection operatives but you also supply security guards, you will not need to get two licences).

Other Licenses covered are:

Cash and Valuables in Transit

Who Needs a Cash and Valuables in Transit Licence?

Required Qualifications for Cash & Valuables in Transit


Door Supervision

Who Needs a Door Supervisor Licence?

Required Qualifications for Door Supervisors


Public Space Surveillance (CCTV)

Who Needs a Public Space Surveillance (CCTV) Licence?

Public Space Surveillance (CCTV): Required Qualifications


Security Guarding

Who Needs a Security Licence?

Required Qualifications for Security Guards


Key Holding

Who Needs a Key Holding Licence?

Required Qualifications for Key Holding


Vehicle Immobilisers

Who Needs a Vehicle Immobiliser Licence?

Required Qualifications for Vehicle Immobilisers


Precognition Agents

Who Needs a Precognition Agent Licence?


Private Investigation

Who Needs a Private Investigation Licence?

Private Investigation Training


Security Consultants

Who Needs a Security Consultant Licence?

In-house Guarding

Further Information regarding the SIA can be found on their webiste at:


If you feel there is anything missing from this page that you think would benefit others, please be in touch with one of our expert team HERE.........


The SW Team.........