Introduction

If you’re thinking of becoming a security guard, one of the first things you need to do is get your Security Industry Authority (SIA) licence. In this article is going to show you how to get an SIA licence, what documents you need and the best way to apply for your licence.

SIA Licence

To work in the security industry in the UK you will need to have an SIA licence, there are 8 different licences

  • Cash and valuables in transit
  • Close protection
  • Door supervision
  • Key holding
  • Non-front line
  • Public space surveillance (CCTV)
  • Security guarding
  • Vehicle immobilisation (Northern Ireland only)

To work in the UK as a Door supervisor (or nightclub bouncer, as they are reluctantly called) or security guard you need to get a SIA Licence.

Other licences like close protection allow you to be a close protection officer, security guarding allows for you to work as a security officer in places like shops and offices and CCTV allows you to monitor CCTV for businesses all over the UK.

The SIA Licence

The SIA Licence was created in 2001 when the private security industry act was passed, before this there was no regulation in the industry and anyone could work as a security guard.

The act was passed to try and improve the image of the industry and to make sure that only people with the right skills and training worked in security.

The Security industry authority to regulate the UK security industry, enforcing the private security industry act to raise standards and remove criminal elements and criminality.

If you are planning to get a job in security guarding, as a door supervisor, 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 SIA Licence

To qualify for an SIA licence you need to be at least 18, pass a SIA approved training course, be eligible to work in the UK and pass the Security industry authority criminality checks.

We will go over the Security industry authority training courses further down the article, along with all the necessary documentation.

But I have a Criminal Record

A common problem when applying for your SIA licence is the criminality checks, these make sure that you are a ‘fit and proper person’ to hold an SIA licence, if you have a criminal record, this doesn’t always mean that you will be turned down for an SIA 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 SIA licence 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.

Mental Health

The SIA take mental health really serious and ask on your SIA licence application form if you have been compulsorily detained, or subject to any compulsory measures (such as a community treatment order), under the Mental Health Act in the last 5 years.

If you answer yes to this question, you have to supply contact information for one of the following: a psychiatrist or psychologist who is treating you a general practitioner (GP) who is in regular touch with you and monitoring your condition

They then contact this medical expert to obtain a medical evaluation of your condition as well as any treatment you are receiving. They’ll look at how the report affects your application after they get it. For example, the report may suggest that a medical professional should examine your condition on a regular basis. If this is the case, they can claim you can hold an SIA licence for a limited amount of time.

If you have any concerns that your mental health will affect your ability to work in the security industry, you should discuss this with a health professional before making an SIA licence application as it may not be in your best interest to apply for an SIA licence.

Security Industry Overview

Working in the Security industry is hard work, Door Supervisors and security guards are 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.

Get yourself the right equipment, buy boots that are sturdy and allow for standing for long periods, Get a body worn camera to prevent any false accusations when dealing with the public.

During cold winters, it is possible that you will be working outside, so a good Protection vest or security vest will your body keep warm, safe and keep the cold weather out, a heated jacket can also help by warming yourself during a cold shift.

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.

SIA Training/SIA Course

The SIA have created a competency (skills) requirement training, you need to complete this before applying for your SIA Licence.

There are many training courses throughout the UK, Approved training providers can be found here.

We’ll focus on the Door supervisor training here:

The Level 2 Working as a Door Supervisor within the Private Security Industry SIA course consist of 4 modules and will give you a SIA door supervision licence.

  1. Working Within the Security Industry
  2. Working as a Door Supervisor in the Security Industry
  3. Conflict management within the security industry
  4. Physical Intervention within the Security Industry

The training is usually over 6 days and involves 3 Multiple Choice Exams and a Physical Intervention Assessment, First aid training is now included in the training and should equivalent to Emergency First Aid at Work (EFAW) certificate or higher. 

You will need to complete all four units to pass the SIA 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 door supervisor course, but they shouldn’t guarantee an absolute pass.

Researching SIA licence training providers and get feedback from others that have passed the door supervisor 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 an SIA licence

Once you’ve completed and passed the SIA course and you’re confident that you’ll pass the criminality checks, you should apply for your SIA licence through the SIA website. 

Payment

Often an Employer will offer to pay for your SIA 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 SIA Licence through the Online Portal

Documents

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.

Group A

  • 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

Group B

  • a bank or building society statement from the last 3 months (we will accept 2 statements, but only if they are from different banks or building societies)
  • a utility bill from the last 3 months (we will accept gas, electric, telephone landline, water, satellite TV or cable TV bills but not mobile phone bills)
  • a credit card statement from the last 3 months (we will accept 2 statements, but only if they are from different credit-card providers)
  • a council tax statement from the last 12 months
  • a mortgage statement from the last 12 months
  • a letter from the last 3 months from any of the following:
    • HM Revenue and Customs
    • the Department of Work and Pensions
    • a Jobcentre Plus – or any other employment service
    • a local authority
  • a P45 or P60 tax statement from the last 12 months
  • a paper version of a current UK driving licence (not the paper counterpart to a photocard)
  • a driving licence photocard issued by the DVA in Northern Ireland (not the paper counterpart)
  • a pension, endowment or ISA statement from the last 12 months
  • a valid UK firearms licence with photo

At least one of the documents from the list should contain your current address (the address on the application form) and Date of Birth.

You must submit 2 documents from group B. Each of these papers must demonstrate your current residence.

They refuse to accept two documents of the same type and will not accept two council tax statements, for example. They will only allow one document from each category.

All documents will be returned to you after they have finished with them.

Photos

The photograph is a crucial component of your SIA license, so accuracy here will go a long way towards speeding up the processing of your SIA license.

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.

Glasses won’t be accepted if they are worn in the photo, neither will sunglasses, even if they are varifocals.

Head coverings worn for religious reasons are permitted, but make sure your face isn’t covered.

If you’re not sure about the exposure, take a test shot to see if it’s correct. If it’s still too dim, retake the photo. In images with an important message, try to avoid casting shadows and adjust as needed.

application_incorrect1 

photo application photo 1

Here is an example of the perfect picture, if you usually wear glasses, then these are accepted.

application_correct

The photo is checked against details submitted and will also be checked against the details of the training course, the post office offer a service where they check your documents and send them for you, this is highly recommended.

How much is SIA Licence

To become licensed, you must pay a fee of £190. A single SIA license cost is £190. Except for a vehicle immobiliser licence, which lasts for one year, all licenses are valid for three years.

It’s possible that you’ll need to apply for more than one SIA licence. If so, we will apply a 50% discount to the additional licences. This means that the first SIA licence cost £190, and each subsequent SIA licence will be £95.

They apply the discount if you hold a valid SIA licence. If you’re renewing an SIA licence and still hold another licence, the discount the application fee by 50% will applied.

Post office Checking Service

The Post office will check through the details of your SIA licence application, checking through documents, capture your photograph and take your electronic signature, along with the payment for the SIA licence.

They ask for you to bring the SIA application reference number and certified copies of the required paperwork to a branch.

There isn’t an additional cost for this service, the cost of £190 is the cost of the SIA licence.

If you want the Post Office to send any extra paperwork to the SIA, you will be charged an additional fee for both postage and envelopes.

They then send your application, photo and signature to the SIA, where they’re entered into your application. The SIA will subsequently continue processing your application.

Summary

It might be expensive to start off being a door supervisor (bouncer security) Security officer or security guard, but in the long run it will be worth it.

You will have a recognised SIA licence and if you work hard you can have a varied and rich career.

You will need to pass the SIA criminality checks and take an SIA approved training course apply for an SIA Licence, it is very important that you pass the SIA criminality checks before taking the training and applying for your SIA 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 anyway.

The online portal has all the information you need and will update as soon as something has been done, be patient and Good Luck.