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SIA business licensing – when?

When will business licences come to fruition? asks Abbey Petkar, pictured, managing director at Magenta Security Services.

The security industry is an incredibly dynamic sector. The pace of change is increasing year by year and it is almost unrecognisable from the one that existed just a decade ago. But there are still underlying issues which blight us all. Rogue traders.

The Government set up the Security Industry Authority (SIA) to regulate the security industry. One of its main responsibilities was the compulsory licensing of individuals working in the private sector industry throughout the UK. This accreditation has gone a long way to improving the reputation of the industry. But in my opinion, more needs to be done.

There are still too many security companies who undercut costs but provide sub-standard services. Too many times I have witnessed customers realise they have made a costly mistake by working with these companies. Unfortunately it is not always easy to tell the legitimate providers of professional security services from the rogue operators that still blight the industry. And that’s why the industry needs further regulation in the form of business licences.

The idea of a business licence was first mooted by the SIA in 2014. But 18 months down the line we are no closer to having it formalised. The new regulations would ensure that all legitimate security service providers are licensed at a firm-level in addition to the individual officers.

Magenta Security Services welcomed the announcement that all security businesses would need an SIA business licence, not just for the benefit of professionals and the industry but ultimately for the safety of our clients. And we continue to push for its introduction. Having originally been scheduled for implementation on April 6, 2015, it is sad to see that business licensing has been pushed aside too many times. As mentioned, it had been due to come into force earlier this year, but was again delayed by the general election, and the formation of a new Government.

Business licensing would need to obtain ministerial and parliamentary approval so it is unlikely to happen overnight. But it is something our industry desperately needs. So it was disappointing to see that even under the new Government there was no mention of the SIA business licensing in the latest Queen’s Speech. It begs the question, when will it finally come to fruition? Security companies have worked hard to promote their professionalism. The new regulation would give greater credibility to genuine companies and encourage the industry to constantly deliver high level services that benefit both clients and security guards, and ultimately improve the reputation of the industry as a whole.

With such a large amount of people operating in an industry, it is necessary to improve regulation in an attempt to maintain the legitimacy, standards and reputation of firms and individuals that provide a quality service. Only time will tell to see if this new regulation will finally rid the security operation of un-reputable organisations once and for all.

About Magenta Security

The company offers security officers, mobile services, graffiti removal, electronic security and remote monitoring and has operations in London, Birmingham, Kent, Middlesex, Swindon and Manchester. For more about its services call 0845 500 0786 or visit www.magentasecurity.co.uk.


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