The Modern Security Industry


The security industry in the UK changed dramatically in 2004 with the introduction of the Security Industry Authority. Before this time the private security industry was unregulated, local licensing schemes were in place with some Local Authorities and councils however no uniform regulation existed. Security staff were often low paid, worked long hours and could work in a position of trust, despite having a criminal record.

The Government recognised these issues and set up the SIA with three main objectives:

  • To prevent criminality in the security industry
  • To ensure that security operatives are fit and proper to carry out their role
  • To ensure that security staff are well trained and qualified


From 2004 to 2014 SIA regulation has focused on individuals with an SIA licence being granted to those who meet criminal record check criteria and have undertaken the Level 2 Award in Door Supervision. This is set to change from 2014 with companies providing security services being licensed also. This change is designed to further professionalise the industry, reduce criminality and ensure the safety of the public.

The effects of SIA licensing are clear to see. Throughout the 1980s, 1990s and previously, the private security industry was often associated with criminality and thuggery. Doorstaff, commonly known as bouncers, didn’t often work closely with the Police service and security guards had similar issues. The modern regulation of the security industry has changes all that, and for the first time the security industry is being seen as a professional career. Trade associations and unions now exist such as the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) and champion the good work the industry is achieving as a whole. Security staff are usually now paid well above the national minimum wage as to work you must hold a valid SIA licence. Door supervisors and the Police service now often work closely together and with other agencies to deal with the problems of the late night economy.

SIA Approved ContractorThe SIA Approved Contractor Scheme (ACS) is a programme that recognised the best security companies operating. These companies have rigours processes and procedures in place, develop and train their staff and have a customer centred approach to delivering security services.