Representatives of the BSIA have once again expressed the industry’s frustration with delays to introduction of the new Security Industry Association’s regulatory regime.
The “phased transition” to a new regulatory regime for UK security guarding licensing has been ongoing since October 2010. The Security Industry Authority (SIA) has announced this week the timescale for licensing of security businesses. From April 6, 2015, all regulated security businesses will need to hold an SIA business licence.
Security businesses will be required to hold a business licence in each sector they work in, which will comprise of:
- Manned guarding -- Cash and valuables in transit, close protection, door supervision, public space surveillance (video surveillance), and security guarding.
- Key holding.
- Immobilisation of vehicles (including the restriction and removal of vehicles), in Northern Ireland only.
The application process for SIA business licences will open on April 7, 2014, and businesses are advised to apply by no later than October 1, 2014. Otherwise they will risk not having their application processed in time for April 2015, when the licences will become a legal requirement.
BSIA chief executive James Kelly has welcomed the announcement of the proposed timescales, but has said that there are still “several factors” that the Government has yet to clarify that are crucial to the success of the transition to business licensing. He said:
Firstly, the Government has yet to identify a suitable legislative vehicle through which suitable enforcement powers can be granted to the SIA. Also, the failure of Government to clarify the cost of the new regime is leaving many security companies in the dark when it comes to business forecasting for the coming years.
“Helpful to business”In his role as chairman of the Security Regulation Alliance -- a single-issue alliance of stakeholders that focuses on the regulation of the security industry -- Kelly has written to the government to say that the new regulatory regime will be “helpful to business” but that the Alliance is concerned that the Treasury and the Department for Business, Information, and Skills (BIS) are delaying the introduction of the regulation.
Concerns from the treasury about the cost to the taxpayer of the new regulatory regime have caused delays. There is also a perception that the new rules are contrary to a general government policy of deregulation. Kelly continued:
Our letter aims to provide reassurance that the cost of licensing has always been -- and will continue to be -- borne by industry, and that regulation has, in fact, had a positive influence on the security industry.
Kelly wrote in his letter:
The new regulatory regime will be good for all businesses, reduce cost, help build a private security industry that is fit to hold the public’s trust, and support the police. However, this will only be the case if all phases of the new regulatory regime are completed with proportionate powers that allow robust enforcement to be continued. If, as seems possible, an incomplete process without primary legislation is enacted, it would be damaging as long as the uncertainty persisted.
The Alliance pressed the benefit of regulation in encouraging competition in the industry, saying that before the SIA introduced regulation the only way a company could screen suppliers was through reputation -- a situation that would prevent new businesses being able to build up credibility.
Business licensing will be subject to ministerial approval, and businesses will have to prove that they are fit and proper to supply security industry services.
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