SIA could be scrapped

The body which regulates security personnel across the UK’s event venues could soon be scrapped by the Home Office, as documents seen by the BBC place the Security Industry Authority (SIA) among the bodies facing the axe in the government’s drive to cut public spending.

A home office document seen by the BBC suggests that the SIA could be abolished under the sweeping reforms of the UK’s regulatory systems, some seven years after it was first established to improve standards and accountability among the private security industry.

Since its establishment, a license from the SIA has become a near universal pre-requisite for working in private security as a bouncer, store detective, or CCTV operator in the UK. Candidates are required to undergo both background checks and pass tests on their knowledge of best practice in security methods, and today some 35,000 workers are licensed by the SIA to provide security to event venues and licensed premises across the UK.

However according to Event Industry News, the document suggests that the private security industry has matured enough to police itself and though the SIA is largely self-financed, the Home Office believes that scrapping it could “reduce burdensome regulation.”

The prospect has worried some industry figures, who are concerned that the sector’s history of links to organised crime could be re-established without official oversight.

“It may knock us back 10 years,” said Russel Kerr, managing director of contractor firm SecuriGroup. “There’s a danger also that the serious and organised crime element would find it easier to get themselves re-established.”

Speaking in The Publician, a spokesman for the Home Office said that a decision on the SIA is expected next month. He said that all public bodies are being assessed to “ensure they perform an essential role which has to be carried out by Government and cannot be provided more efficiently elsewhere.”