Who are the SIA?
The SIA are the Security Industry Authority and they are responsible for regulating the private security sector throughout the United Kingdom. They have two key responsibilities; the compulsory licensing of individuals undertaking designated activities within the private security industry and the other is to manage the voluntary Approved Contractor Scheme, which measures private security suppliers against independently assessed criteria.
The Security Industry Authority was introduced to protect and reassure the public by preventing unsuitable people into obtaining positions within the private security industry.
How to get an SIA license
In order to work as security guard or complete work within the security sector, you must hold an SIA Licence. This is compulsory, since it is a criminal offence to take on security work without this licence and you could face the consequences of six months in prison or a £5,000 fine, so it is crucial that you obtain yours, or renew it if it has expired.
In order to qualify for an SIA licence, you have to meet the following requirements:
- At least 18 years old
- Pass an ID check
- Undergo a criminal records check
- Be eligible to work in the UK
This does not mean that you will be prohibited from getting an SIA Licence if you do have a criminal record or do not have the right to work in the UK; it will depend on your own individual situation and each application is treated separately.
Whilst you are applying for your SIA License, you will be expected to complete different training courses, including first-aid. The cost of applying for an SIA Licence is £190, and this is non-refundable, so make sure that you have all the necessary documentation and correct information.
There are different licenses available depending on the security role you desire…
- Security Guarding
- Door Supervision
- Protection of Cash and Valuables in Transit
- Public Surveillance Using CCTV
- Key Holding
- Vehicle Immobilising
Your training will also differ depending on on the type of security job you wish to pursue…
- Door Supervisor Training
- Security Guard Training
- CCTV Training
- Close Protection Training
SIA License Renewal After Expiry
Unfortunately, SIA Licences do not renew automatically, so it is your responsibility to monitor your license’s expiry date. You will need to manually renew your licence if you wish to continue working in the same role after your current licence expires.
You can apply for an SIA License renewal up to four months before your current licence expires. You should submit your renewal application as soon as possible, as applying early reduces the risk of a delay that might affect your ability to work. Your new licence will be valid from the day the SIA grant it and any time left on your current licence will be added to your new one.
Can I still renew my SIA Licence after it expires?
You cannot renew a licence unless you currently hold an active licence in that sector. If your licence has expired, you will need to apply for a new one. A licence renewal costs the same as a new application, although no additional training or qualification is required for this.
How long does an SIA License last?
Your SIA Licence will last for three years, unless you hold a Front Line Vehicle Immobiliser Licence, which will need to be renewed ever year. When your existing licence expires or is nearing expiration, you will have to reapply in order to work legally. Without an SIA Licence, you cannot work as a security guard legally and this will hinder your job prospects so having a licence and keeping it up to date is important.
Renewing an SIA License through your employer
The SIA offer services that allow your employer to renew a licence on your behalf. These services are called Licence Assist and Licence Management and they are only available to SIA Approved Contractors. All private security companies should be an SIA Approved Contractor, meaning they are accredited by the SIA and are qualified in providing security services.
You can check if a security company is accredited by clicking here.
Renewing an SIA License yourself
1. Register for a personal online account
Enter your personal details and email address, choose a username and password, and activate your account through the confirmation email.
2. Login to the self-service website
Login to your account and submit the requested information that matches the existing licence information.
When you have logged into your account, click the ‘Licences’ tab and then ‘Actions’, ‘Renew’. Complete sections 1-9 and review your renewal before sending it.
4. Next Steps
After you have completed the previous steps, you will receive an email to explain the next requirements. You are able to pay for the renewal online or at a post office. If your photo has expired (a photo lasts 8 years and 8 months) then you will have to visit a post office for a new photograph.
5. Checks In Progress
During this stage, the SIA will be checking your criminal record, as well as your right to work in the UK and whether your photo is acceptable. You may receive an email related to these checks; responding promptly to these requests will help speed up the processing of your application.
If your renewal application is successful, you will receive a granted letter and your licence card within 14 days. As soon as you receive this confirmation, you are able to lawfully work.
7. What should I do if my application is refused?
The SIA will write to you to explain why your application was rejected. You will have 21 days from the date of their decision letter to provide a response.
SIA License Revocation
There is a possibility that your SIA License will be revoked for reasons that include:
- Your license has been used for fraudulent documents and/or fraudulent identity.
- The licence has been used by someone other than you to engage in licensable conduct.
- You do not have the training qualifications that you claimed to have on your application.
- You receive a conviction, caution, warning, absolute/conditional discharge or admonishment for a relevant offence.
- You refuse or neglect to undertake the training that we have directed you undertake.
- The SIA hold information which indicates that you are not a fit and proper person to hold a licence.
You will be sent a letter by the SIA, informing you of the decision and they will invite you to supply further information. You will then have 21 days to respond to this revocation letter.
Your response to the revocation may include any errors that you believe exist in their assessment. If you do not send a response within the 21 days, the decision to revoke your licence will take immediate effect. When the decision to revoke your licence takes effect, you will have a further 21 days in which to exercise a right of appeal to a Magistrates’ or Sheriff Court.
If you do send in a reply, the SIA will write to you to inform you of their decision.
SIA License Suspension
Unfortunately, SIA License suspensions have immediate effect. This means that you cannot legally work in any licensable sector, even if you work for an approved contractor. The SIA will normally consider suspension only where they are reasonably satisfied that a clear threat to public safety could exist if they do not take action.
Similar to a revocation, a letter will be sent out to you if the SIA deem it necessary to suspend your licence, providing the basis for their decision which will have immediate effect. You will then have 21 days in which to exercise a right of appeal to a Magistrates’ Court or wish to tell them of any factual errors in their assessment.
If a licence is suspended, it will remain suspended until the matter is resolved.