There are many stereotypes about the profession of a security guard. One of the most common misconceptions is that they don’t need any training, and it’s very easy to become a security guard. People treat it as one of the jobs that anybody can get. It’s true that in the past, there were not a lot of regulations and requirements for working as a security guard. That’s probably why this industry suffered a bad reputation. But it’s not the case anymore. Guards have to undergo adequate training and get an appropriate licence in order to start the work.
Anybody working as an active security guard in the UK has to have an SIA Licence. SIA stands for Security Industry Authority, which is an independent organisation (reporting to the Home Secretary) responsible for regulating the private security industry. The goal of creating this body was to make sure that both individual guards and guards working in security agencies are “fit and proper” for the job. The SIA licence is now an obligatory requirement for anybody working within:
- manned guarding,
- security guarding,
- door supervision,
- close protection,
- cash and valuables in transit,
- public space surveillance using CCTV,
- key holding,
- vehicle immobilising (applies to Northern Ireland only).
At Angleside, we offer most of these services, so we make sure that all our security guards hold the SIA licence. It’s one of our top priorities because we want our clients to be sure that they are protected by qualified and well-trained personnel.
Types of SIA Licence
There are two types of SIA Licence, and each individual involved in security services should obtain one of the. The type they need depends on their position and responsibilities.
- A front line licence is required for anyone who performs one of the licensable activities (mentioned above, except for key holding). So, this includes all security guards, but also doormen or security system operators. The front line licence is issued in the form of a plastic card (it has the size of an ID card) and should always be worn when on duty. It has to be well visible to the public.
- There’s also a non-front line licence which is required for anybody holding management or supervising position in the private security industry or employing individuals who perform a licensable activity. This licence is issued in the form of a letter which also covers key holding activities.
SIA Licence application process
Anybody who wants to become a security guard has to apply for the SIA licence. However, the application requires evidence of being qualified for the job. There is a list of SIA-endorsed qualifications that are treated as valid proof of obligatory competences. It can be found on the official SIA website. The organisation pays a lot of attention to the training providers and, thus, reviews their list regularly. It makes the SIA licence a trustworthy institution that greatly improves the quality of security guard services.
Apart from the training mentioned above, criminality and right to work checks are also part of the application process.
Other useful skills every guard should have
Professional training is a must for anybody who wants to work as a security guard. It’s the first step on a successful career path in this industry. But some additional skills can be equally useful in the security guard’s everyday duties.
Good communication skills are something that security officers are rarely associated with, but the truth is, they are essential at this job. Guards have contact with other people every day – whether they work in a store, an office, or in a warehouse. They are the face of a company and need to make a good impression by being polite and helpful. In many cases, excellent communication skills are the key to effective problem solving or conflict de-escalation. Very often, they help security guards achieve desired results much better than physical interventions. So, every guard should know how to communicate with people.
Another useful skill is the ability to stay focused and alert at work. A big part of a security guard’s day is about observation. They have to observe people, equipment, surroundings, and be constantly on the lookout of any irregularities and suspicious behaviour. A good security guard should notice the risk before it causes an issue. In addition, he or she should know what the proper reaction to this risk is and how to handle it.
Finally, at Angleside, we believe that good security guards are also flexible in terms of the tasks they can perform. We offer a wide range of services, and so we have very different clients. The work in a retail shop is not the same as at a warehouse or in a hotel. The duties of an office security guard differ from the duties of an event guard. Our security officers can be trusted with many responsibilities, and it’s important that they can adjust to their workplace environment. Every company has certain policies, and guards should be able to follow them.
At Angleside we want to provide the best services to our clients, so we pay attention to the qualifications of our security guards. We know how important it is for them to be well-prepared for any kind of emergency or dangerous situation. Proper training is the foundation of a successful security company. That’s why anybody performing licensable activities at Angleside, holds the appropriate confirmation of their competences.