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News - 2 September 2004

Security Industry heads for trouble?

Trouble could be looming as the Security Industry Authority (SIA) gears up to impose tough new licensing and registration procedures on an industry that has been largely unregulated for decades.

This will affect anyone working in the security field from door supervisors to wheel clampers. Looking at the new rules for the latter gives a good idea of just how far the SIA is prepared to go to protect the public. From 28th February 2005 clamping vehicles, even on private land, will become a criminal offence without a licence with a maximum penalty of 5 years in jail.

To get a licence an operative will have to undergo 35 hours training and pass a detailed exam and applications could take up to six weeks to process and they will cost £250. The aim of the SIA is to ensure that operatives of any aspect of security do not have criminal records or an equally criminal lack of training and aptitude that makes them unsuitable for the job.

It is widely predicted to lead to chaos as hundreds of door supervisors, security guards and even wheel clampers lose their jobs and those remaining are much in demand. It is also predicted to end the low level of remuneration that is a hallmark of the industry and which has led to rapid turnover, poor morale and under-investment in workforce development.

Brighton & Hove has had a registration scheme for door supervisors for some time and the training and exam necessary for the new licence should not come as too much of a shock. Other towns and cities might struggle to cope as the numbers of available supervisors decreases and those that are left demand better pay and conditions. There is a danger that some less reputable outlets will simply have a couple of “customers” sitting at the bar that are prepared to lend a hand if trouble starts. This would be a dreadful backward step for an industry whose image has improved markedly in the last decade and could at last gain the professional recognition that it needs.

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