To work as a professional Security Guard in the UK you need to be licensed by the Security Industry Authority (SIA). Without this licence, it is illegal to work anywhere as a security officer, apart from those wishing to work in-house or employed by a client directly. It’s simple to obtain your licence. You can do this by completing a training course with an SIA recognised training provider. Once you have passed the course, you can apply for your license and pay a fee amount of £220. You will have to renew this license every 3 years.
Providing that you meet all the licensing requirements you’ll then receive your SIA badge within a few or more weeks.
Roles of a Security Guard
Security or manned guarding is described by the SIA as activity including any of the following;
- Guarding premises against unauthorised access or occupation, against outbreaks of disorder or against damage
- Guarding property against destruction or damage, against being stolen or against being otherwise dishonestly taken or obtained.
As you can see above a security guard is there to protect property and the people within the building from criminal damage and/or injury. They can also perform a loose form of surveillance. An example of performing surveillance would be monitoring shoppers in a busy shopping centre, or discreetly following a suspected shoplifter. To make sure you are doing this to your best of your ability, you will need to be able to remain calm and controlled in potentially stressful situations. In times of emergency, such as building fires etc., people will turn to you for guidance on the best way to get out of the dangerous environment. Although it is classified as one of the first rungs on the career ladder of the security industry, it can often carry a great deal of responsibility.
Getting Your SIA Security Licence
As always the first thing to do above all else is checking your eligibility to obtain an SIA licence. From time to time again people fail to check if they are eligible for a licence. For example, when they are trying to become a Door Supervisor. After passing the training course and paying the licence fee, they’re declines for a failed criminal check. Not only do you lose the licence fee, you have also lost the money you have paid for the training you cannot use. If you are planning to apply for any form of training within this industry, you should check your eligibility using the SIA Criminal Record Indicator. There are other points to consider and these are:
- You must be over 18 years of age
- You must be eligible to work in the UK
- Long working hours (a typical security guard shift is 12 hours)
- Can be a very lonely job
- Pay can vary between minimum wage and £15 per hour (although most Security Guarding jobs pay at the lower end of this scale)
- Need a reasonable level of fitness
What do I do now?
If you are interested in having a career as a Security Guard or would like to have one as a weekend job, the next thing you need to do is to look for a training provider. For this, you need to choose well. You may look for the cheapest training provider you find, however, this might not be a good fit for you. Remember this job could put you in dangerous situations so you need to make sure you are confident in your training.
Remember to use Google effectively – Google is your friend. Research any training provider you consider till you feel confident it will be the best place for you. Search for reviews and visit forums such as Close Protection World to research further into training providers. Make sure you are 100% happy with the company you choose.
Once you have decided on which company to go with, you’ll have at least 27 hours of learning about the job. The three main topics you’ll study are;
- Work within the Private Security Industry
- Work as a Security Guard
- Conflict Management for the Private Security Industry
Once you have completed your course, you will sit an exam. If you have completed and passed the exam you’ll be eligible for the SIA licence. To apply for this, you can request an application pack from their number or from their website here. Remember there is a £220 non-refundable fee that you will have to pay when applying for your licence. The licensing period now lasts a few weeks from application to receiving your SIA license in the post. However, there has been a considerable delay at times of a few months so just be aware. Once you have received your licence, you can now start looking for a suitable Security Company you would like to work for.