Guide: SIA Licensing Explained

  1. What is SIA?
  2. What is the difference between SIA licenses?
  3. What license do you need for different events?
  4. Where to get training
  5. How to apply for a license
  6. How to renew your license
  7. How to choose a security company for your event

When you hire someone in the security industry, you expect a certain level of professionalism and industry knowledge from that individual, regardless of their exact role. This assurance of knowledge, qualification, and professionalism is provided by an SIA license.
In the UK, it’s required by law that all security professionals obtain and carry an SIA license. There are different types of SIA licenses, and varying qualifications required to obtain an SIA license for different roles within the private security industry, many of which we will be covering in this guide.

What is SIA?sia logo

SIA stands for the Security Industry Authority, which, since 2003, has operated as an independent body under the Private Security Industry Act 2001. The main responsibilities of the SIA are to manage the Approved Contractor Scheme and to regulate the UK’s private security industry through legally-required SIA licensing.

An important goal of the SIA is to improve the standards of the security industry, and therefore, obtaining an SIA license is a requirement for all individuals who seek to work within the UK’s security sector. Having an SIA license shows that an individual is ‘fit and proper’ to work within the industry and has obtained all the required qualifications to work in a certain role.

The SIA deems positions that involve manned guarding, key holding, and restriction, removal, and immobilisation of vehicles to be licensable under the Private Security Industry Act 2001.

What is the difference between SIA licenses?

SIA licenses come in two different types, known as a front line license and a non-front line license. The main distinction between the two is that a front line license is required if the licensable activity is undertaken personally by an individual, and a non-front line license is required by managers, employers or supervisors of individuals undertaking licensable activities.

Each front line license will be in relation to a specific role within the security industry, with each requiring different training and qualifications before the SIA will issue a license.

What license do you need for different events?security guards

Any individual working at an event or in a front line role in the security industry will require the correct SIA license, with the exception of individuals working in solely a voluntary capacity.

There are seven different licensable activities, as defined by the Private Security Industry Act 2001 and adhered to by the SIA. The security needed for your event is as follows:

  • Key Holding
  • Door Supervision
  • Cash and Valuables in Transit
  • Security Guarding
  • Close Protection
  • Public Space Surveillance
  • Vehicle Immobilisation, Restriction, and Removal

When undertaking any licensable manned guarding activity at an event, a door supervision SIA license will be required on licensed premises and a security guard SIA license will be required on other premises.

Where can you get training?

The SIA doesn’t directly provide training for SIA licenses, but there are numerous training facilities in the UK where it’s possible to obtain SIA-endorsed qualifications for an SIA license. Many of these approved training providers can be searched for on the SIA website. After the correct training has been undertaken and a qualification has been received, you can start the application for a license.

How to apply for an SIA license

Once you’ve completed the relevant training for the license you would like to apply for, an application form for an SIA license can be submitted. You can do this via the SIA website and will need to provide a selection of documents as proof of your identity as well as a passport style photograph. It costs £220 for a three year license and you can check their website for updates on the application progress.

How to renew your license

As the SIA license doesn’t renew automatically, you’ll need to be aware of the expiration date and be proactive when it comes to your new application. Your employer may be able to renew this for you but do check with them. You won’t need to retrain to renew the license and will cost you an additional £220.

How to choose a security company for your eventable investigations logo

If you are organising an event where you may need security staff, make sure you properly check the company you’d like to work with. All security guards should hold an SIA license but you can also get SIA Approved Contractors, who are organisations that have excelled in the industry and are recognised by the SIA as amongst the best. You could also look for additional accreditations such as ISO 9001 certificated, CCAS registered or perhaps a member of Chartered Institutes within the industry.

Able Investigations are professionally certificated enforcement officers with exceptional experience working in the security industry. Our new division of rigorously trained SIA approved security guards are licensed to provide advanced security for private sector events and other security contracts.
We are ISO 9001 certified, SIA Approved Contractors and our MD is even Vice President of Association of Certificated Enforcement Agents.

Contact us today if you have any questions or queries about SIA licensing in the security industry by calling us on 0845 370 7401, using our contact form or via email.

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