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Likely change to the requirements for SIA-approved contractors and for renewing your SIA licence were aired by the chief executive of the Security Industry Authority (SIA), Alan Clamp, at the final ST17 conference of the year, at Security TWENTY 17 London, at the Park Inn Heathrow yesterday.
On Project Griffin, the voluntary training for security officers to be aware of hostile reconnaissance of sites, whether by thieves or potential terrorists, Alan Clamp, pictured, suggested that the Griffin training might be built into the qualification required for an application for an SIA licence. He did note that about a third of Griffin’s content was already in the SIA-required training already for a security officer. It might become a requirement for renewal of licences, he said. (There is precedent for SIA-badged people to have to get extra qualifications, such as door staff having to pass training in how to be aware of risks to vulnerable people, not in the original curriculum for the door badge when introduced in the mid-2000s).
Likewise, guarding companies and others who are members of the approved contractor scheme (ACS) might be required to show that they are aware of Griffin, and promoting the training with their own staff. talking of ACS, Alan Clamp pointed out that the scheme was slightly over ten years old (and thus nearly as old as the badging of individuals) and ‘has never been changed fundamentally since it started, although it has evolved over time; and over the past seven or eight months we have been doing a review of it. This will continue until the end of the business year.” As he said, an independent research company has talked to ‘a lot of organisations, sending out a lot of questionnaires’.
The researchers have come back to the SIA with ‘around 15 recommendations on how the scheme can be improved’. “We are now looking at this and thinking about the practical implications,” Alan Clamp told ST17. The recommendations will be ‘distilled’ and put before the industry for their thinking. Inevitably, as he added, when you have 830 companies in the scheme, ‘you will probably have more than 830 different views’. But ACS fundamentally should be a ‘hallmark of a company that provides high quality security provision’. You can expect to see details published next year; and if you’re due to have your ACS status renewed, and wonder if it’ll fall under the present requirements or whatever’s new, Alan Clamp assured the audience that the SIA would provide ‘a clear timeline’ about adjusting to become compliant.
On what the industry has told the review and what will come of it, he said: “The vast majority of people have said; ‘it’s ok’, ‘we would like a bit more of this’ and ‘a bit less of that’. But nobody is saying ‘chuck it out of the window’.” Alan Clamp said that the ACS after the review would ‘still be recognisable’ and ‘not too challenging, if you are in the scheme, to stay in’.
He closed his talk with ‘what next’ for the private security regulator. A new leaflet is coming out aimed at buyers of SIA-regulated services, titled “Do you buy security? The regulator’s guide to buying private security’. He said: “We are trying to engage more with buyers to get them more informed and aware, to ask the right questions so they know what they are buying”, for example services that are proportionate to risk.
The SIA is carrying on its work with police, the children’s charity Barnardos and others, for example towards reducing violence in the vicinity of guarded premises, not least violence against the security guards themselves. There’s that review of the ACS; and further work with police for co-operation between uniformed police and private security guard forces, in London but also outside the capital; and more on training, particularly on counter-terrorism. And finally the SIA sticking to its remit of improving standards and protecting the public. He recalled the Home Office review of the SIA, begun in January 2016 that gathered evidence in by July 2016. Thanks to the 2017 general election and changes in Home Office junior ministers that are responsible for the Authority, the SIA is still waiting for the report.