Up until fairly recently, the security industry in the UK was unregulated. There was no licensing, no compulsory training, and no voluntary Approved Contractors Scheme (ACS).
Private firms stood or fell purely on their reputation. However, the security industry is by nature an arena where much is at stake in daily operation. Security personnel are employed to maximize safety, prevent theft and crime, and if necessary, to confront and disable perpetrators. Personnel such as door staff are required to deal with the public every day, and are regularly called upon to face drunk and belligerent behavior.
Before 2001, a number of incidents caused public concern over the professionalism and competency of security personnel in the UK. Parliament decided that the industry needed to be regulated, and set about formulating a solution.
The Private Security Act was passed in 2001 because it was felt that it would benefit the security industry if it were more formally regulated. As a result, The Private Security Act (SIA) was introduced in England and Wales – and then later, due to its success, in Scotland in 2007. The scheme was then further developed when the act was successfully passed in Northern Ireland in 2009. This meant that the security industry was finally measured and controlled by a unanimous system designed to protect the general public and ensure its members behaved according to a strict set of standards.
They describe their purpose as follows:
“Our mission is to be an effective, fair and efficient regulator of the private security industry. Our vision is that criminality is reduced and standards are raised in the private security industry so that the public is, and feels, safer.”
Their first act was to establish the compulsory licensing that all security firms need to put in place to operate legally.
The Approved Contractor scheme was introduced in order to enable contractors to go the extra mile and display credible evidence that they meet high professional standards as laid out by the Security Industry Authority.
Once rolled out, certification was offered to external assessing bodies, so that they could offer independent ACS assessment to security companies that opted for it. The Approved Contractor Scheme has proven popular with security companies, and is becoming increasingly preferred by their discerning clients.
SIA ACS Certification Since 2010
The SIA now appoints approved assessment bodies to verify contractors in exceptional circumstances. In such an instance your company would be required to submit to inspection by one of the following bodies:
5. Chamber Certification Assessment Services