Updated - October 2018
To work in the UK as a Door supervisor (or bouncer as they are sometimes called) you need to get a SIA Licence.
The Licence was created in 2001 and it regulates the private security industry to improve the quality of service, raise standards and remove criminal elements and criminality.
If you are planning to get a job in security guarding, door supervising, Close protection (additional training might be needed) transit of cash or valuables, CCTV surveillance, key holding or vehicle immobilising then you will need to be licensed with the SIA.
Qualifying For a Licence
To qualify for a licence you need to be at least 18, pass a SIA approved training course, be eligible to work in the UK and pass the SIA criminality checks.
We will go over the training courses further down the article, being over 18 and being eligible to work in the UK should be simple to pass.
But I have a Criminal Record
A common problem when applying for your licence is the criminality checks, these make sure that you are a ‘fit and proper person’ to hold a licence, if you have a criminal record, this doesn’t always mean that you will be turned down for a licence, the SIA make their decision on
- Whether we consider your offences relevant to our decision;
- The actual sentence or disposal given to you for the offence
- How recent the offences were.
They will look into information held on you by the police, any previous SIA warnings, County Court judgements and other local authorities.
The Criminal Record Indicator is a ‘no-cost’ way of predicting if you are likely to pass the test and the licencing teams decision before you pay for your application, so this is a VERY IMPORTANT exercise.
If you fail the criminality checks on application you will be notified as to why and given the opportunity to challenge the decision. Further checks may go into recent Mental Health Issues, details of this can be found on their website.
Working in the Security industry is hard work, you are the on the front-line and you will almost certainly be abused or attacked by drunk/confused customers.
You have a duty of care and a responsibility for keeping everybody safe and secure, the hours are unsociable, you need to have a decent level of fitness and a positive attitude.
But the upsides of the industry balance out the negatives, during the summer months you can apply to work at festivals and events and you will always been in work.
Further training can lead to close protection work, working in crowd management at stadiums and events as well as progression to local authorities and police services, essentially it can be a doorway to other careers and opportunities.
The SIA have created a competency (skills) requirement training, you need to complete this before applying for your licence.
There are many training courses throughout the UK, many can be found here.
The Level 2 Working as a Door Supervisor within the Private Security Industry course consist of 4 modules
- Working Within the Private Security Industry
- Working as a Door Supervisor in the Security Industry
- Conflict management within the private security industry
- Physical Intervention within the Private Security Industry
The training is usually over 4 days and involves 3 Multiple Choice Exams and a Physical Intervention Assessment.
You will need to complete all four units to pass the course, this qualification is endorsed by the SIA and regulated by Ofqual.
Choosing the right training provider is Crucial, even though the course is relatively easy to complete, the information contained within is important.
The best companies will provide excellent tuition and supervision, making sure you have the best chance to pass the course, but they shouldn’t guarantee an absolute pass.
Researching the training providers and get feedback from others that have passed the course is a must. A course should cost between £140 and £300 and should include all the above modules.
Once you have this qualification you will be allowed to work as a Door Supervisor, to work in Close protection, transit of cash or valuables, CCTV surveillance, key holding and vehicle immobilising or as a Security Guard, you will need to attend additional training courses.
Applying For a licence
Once you’ve complete and passed the training course and you’re confident that you’ll pass the criminality checks, you should apply for your licence through the SIA website.
Often an Employer will offer to pay for the licence, here’s how you can link the business to your application.
Here are the steps you have to take if YOU are paying for the Licence through the Online Portal
All Documents are checked electronically against other databases, for example, passport checks will be cross-referenced with Majesty’s Passport Office (HMPO).
This should be sufficient enough information to proceed with your application.
On rare occasions you may need to send details to the SIA, they will guide you on what information they need and if you do ALWAYS send the original copy.
- UK passport
- UK driving licence
- UK birth certificate
- signed valid passport of any other nationality
- UK biometric residence permit.
If you don’t have 2 of the documents from Group A you can submit 1 from Group A and 2 from Group B
- Valid EU photo ID card.
- Valid UK firearms licence with photo
- Signed valid UK paper driving licence.
- Marriage certificate or Civil Partnership certificate, with translation if not in English.
- UK birth certificate issued more than 12 months after date of birth, but not a photocopy.
- Non-UK birth certificate, with translation if not in English.
- UK adoption certificate
- P45 statement of income for tax purposes on leaving a job issued in the last 12 months.
- P60 annual statement of income for tax purposes issued in the last 12 months.
- Bank or building society statement issued to your current address, less than three months old. You can use more than one statement as long as each is issued by a different bank or building society.
- Mortgage statement issued in the last 12 months.
- Utility bill (gas, electric, telephone, water, satellite, cable) issued to your current address within the last three months. You can only submit one utility bill in support of your application.
- Pension, endowment or ISA statement issued in last 12 months.
- British work permit or visa issued in last 12 months.
- Letter from H.M. Revenue & Customs, Department of Work and Pensions, employment service, or local authority issued within the last three months. You can submit more than one letter as long as each is issued by a different Government department or a different local authority.
- A credit card statement sent to your current address within the last three months. You can submit more than one statement as long as each is issued by a different issuer.
- Council Tax statement issued in the last 12 months.
- Child benefit book issued in last 12 months.
All the Documents have to be original copies, so don’t send anything that you will need in the immediate future, At least one of the documents from the list should contain your current address (the address on the application form) and Date of Birth. All documents will be returned to you after they have finished with them.
The Photo is an important part of your licence, so getting this right will go a long way to getting your licence quicker.
Here are examples of photos that the SIA don’t accept, Going from the first left, they don’t accept black and white photos, photos that are too close, it needs to show your face, neck and shoulders.
Don’t use a dark background and make sure the photo is well lit.
You can’t wear headgear or hats for the photo or sunglasses, even if they are varifocals.
Stay away from shadows in the picture and if it comes out too light, re take the picture.
Here is an example of the perfect picture, if you usually wear glasses, then these are accepted.
The photo is checked against details submitted and will also be checked against the details of the training course.
The cost of the licence is £220, which would seem high at first, but this will last for 3 years and you will earn £2-4 more per hour.
It may lead to other more varied work that will potentially will pay more. If you are self-employed you can claim tax relief against the cost.
It might be expensive to start off being a door supervisor (bouncer), but in the long run it will be worth it. You will have a recognised qualification and if you work hard you can have a varied, rich career.
You will need to pass the SIA criminality checks and take a SIA approved 4 day training course before applying for your licence, it is very important that you pass the SIA criminality checks before taking the training and applying for your licence.
It’s also important to research the training providers carefully and get feedback from people that have taken the course.
The application takes on average 25 days, there is a tracking system on the online portal that gives you an indication of where the application is, when it has started and when it has finished.
If the application needs to be returned the clock will stop and will reset when you re-apply.
The Devil is in the Detail, Be honest on the application, they will probably have all the information that you do or don’t submit.
The online portal has all the information you need and will update as soon as something has been done, be patient and Good Luck.