An SIA licence is a compulsory security guard license that any individual or security related business needs before they can undertaking designated activities within the private security industry. The licence covers manned guarding, security guarding, door supervision, close protection, cash and valuables in transit, and public space surveillance using CCTV, key holding and vehicle immobilising.


Before the Licence was created in 2001, the security industry didn’t have any type of compulsory security guard license and suffered from a bad reputation, Security companies didn’t regulate the staff they were using or find it necessary to train or develop their staff any more than was absolutely necessary. So the government in 2003 created a non-departmental public body reporting to the Home Secretary, this was called the Security Industry Authority (SIA).


The SIA are responsible for licencing and regulating the security industry, ensuring that people within the industry are ‘fit and proper’ as well as being qualified & trained to an acceptable level to do the job. They were setup to improve public safety making sure proper qualifications were gained and background checks are completed.

By determining the job that is performed and the activity of this role. You can decide if you need a licence. If the job or the activity is on the front line of any security related industry, then you need a SIA licence. Working without a licence is a criminal offence and if found guilty can bring the maximum prison sentence of six months and/or a fine of £5000.

Types of Licence

There are two types of licence a Front-line Licence and a Non-Front-line Licence:

The Front-line Licence is compulsory for any individual working in the security industry front line, Each licence is particular to the job in the industry, of example the SIA door supervisor licence is for SIA registered door staff and the cash and valuables in transit licence is for people that work transiting cash and valuables. This is the same for manned guarding, security guarding, door supervision, close protection, public space surveillance using CCTV and vehicle immobilising, but doesn’t include key holding activities, The licence is a credit card sized plastic card and should always be worn when working in any of these duties.

A Non-Front-line Licence is needed if you manage, supervise and/or employ individuals who engage in licensable activity. As long as your work doesn’t involve front line activity then this is the licence that should be held, this licence comes in the form of letter.

Contractors and security companies voluntarily sign up to the Approved Contractor Scheme (ACS) which allowed inspections by Certification Bodies on behalf of the SIA to ensure that companies who achieve the required standard can be registered as approved and aim to “raise performance standards and to assist the private security industry in developing new opportunities”.

The SIA also work with the UK border Agency to check individuals that are non-EEA nationals right to work, but these checks don’t replace the legal responsibilities to check their employee’s right to work.


An SIA licence is Compulsory for anyone that wants to in the security industry, it ensures that the industry keeps its reputation and people working within it are trustworthy, Qualified, fit and proper and responsible for the work they carry out. It covers all areas of the security industry and is managed by the Security Industry Authority.

You can see our other article on how to apply for sia licence here.