Head of security contractor firm speaks out against plans to scrap SIA

The head of one of the UK’s biggest private security firms has condemned recently leaked government proposals to scrap the industry’s regulatory body, the Security Industry Authority (SIA).

A Home Office document seen by the BBC Politics team last week revealed that the government plans to scrap the SIA as part of its wider cuts to public bodies. The SIA, which regulates the security staff which act as bouncers, doormen, CCTV controllers and response teams for event venues in the capital and across the country, is largely self-financing but according to the Home Office document, removing it will supposedly reduce “burdensome regulation.”

Whilst the Home Office has suggested that the industry has matured enough for self-regulation to be viable, some in the industry disagree. One vocal opponent is Andrew McQuillan, the manging director of Select Management & Security.

Mr McQuillan, whose firm provides security services for venues for hire, festivals, music events and other public and private functions across the UK, recently gave Event Industry News his response to the abolishment of the SIA – which he said “has the potential to be a complete mess.”

“At the moment, company’s buying security services know that the staff employed are licensed and they have some degree of assurance on their skills and character,” he told the website. He warned that if there was “total deregulation” then it would be a “complete free for all” for the criminal and violent elements which had given the industry a bad name in the past, “after all the efforts to clean it up.”

McQuillan warned that self-regulation for the sector could see security costs forced up at a time when many event organisers are facing limited budgets, with “dominant bigger firms” forcing out competition from “smaller, more efficient companies.”

“There are problems with the SIA,” he acknowledges, “It’s far too bureaucratic so by all means lets fix the system with less nit picking detail and more enforcement of the issues that matter…but what this paper suggests is the worst of all worlds.”