AS OF Friday 1 October, all door supervision and security officer licence holders will now need a First Aid qualification and the new Security Industry Authority (SIA) top-up training before they can renew their SIA licence.
The top-up training encompasses safety-critical content including updated counter-terror training and advice for emergencies and incidents. Top-up training for door supervisors includes refreshed physical intervention training.
Further, the top-up training requirements only affect existing door supervision and security officer licence holders when they come to renew their licence. This means that these changes will roll out over the course of the next three years.
Michelle Russell, acting CEO of the SIA, stated: “The introduction of the top-up training is a key part of the reforms that we began in April this year. These changes reflect the extensive feedback and input received over the last three years from those on the ground involved in working to keep the communities whom they serve as safe as possible. Absolutely critical to this is the requirement that all operatives have the knowledge and skills to deal with common risks, especially so in safety-critical areas.”
Russell added: “The security industry plays a vital role in public protection. The new qualifications will help to ensure that this industry is recognised as a profession that’s delivering on this. We will continue to work in partnership with the industry to deliver the best security standards possible.”
Protecting the public
A key element of the SIA’s role as the regulator for the security business sector is to work with the industry to protect the public and raise standards across the private security spectrum. The new requirements will help in achieving this goal.
The regulator has also added flexibility into the mix to enable door supervision licence holders to renew to a security guarding licence instead if they prefer. The security officer top-up training is shorter than the door supervisor top-up training so is likely to be cheaper in terms of cost. Operatives are advised to consider their day-to-day duties and how they’re deployed before renewing.
Previously, the SIA deferred the introduction of top-up training for a period of one year because of the pressures created by COVID-19 restrictions. Having identified risks to the public, the belief is that it’s important this safety-critical training is introduced now. From the regulator’s perspective, these changes will significantly raise standards in the industry and contribute to public safety.
Changes to the training
The SIA has introduced new and updated qualifications for all sectors except close protection and vehicle immobilisation. As stated, individuals must have a First Aid qualification before they can take the training required for a door supervisor or a security officer licence. They must also have one of the new qualifications or take top-up training before they can apply for a door supervisor and/or security officer licence. That stipulation is also applicable to renewals.
More changes are to be introduced in April next year. On 1 April 2022, an updated close protection qualification is to be brought forward.
Why are these changes being made? In essence, the regulator needs to continue to ensure that individuals working in the private security industry can keep the public safe, follow new working practices, understand recent changes to the law and make the very best use of new technology.
First Aid training
The SIA already expected applicants for a close protection licence to complete a First Aid qualification before taking their licence-linked training. We now expect applicants for a door supervisor or security officer licence to do the same. Anyone applying for a licence for the first time or in a situation whereby it has been longer than three years since they last held a licence for that activity must complete such a qualification. It’s also required for licence renewal.
The qualification must be an Emergency First Aid at Work qualification or equivalent. The requirement for First Aid training will improve an individual’s key skills as an SIA licence holder. It will not change the obligations for an individual in terms of responding to an emergency.
In terms of “or equivalent”, the SIA will accept other qualifications that comply with the relevant guidance from the Health and Safety Executive. Some examples are First Aid at Work, First Person on Scene and First Response Emergency Care.
In terms of top-up training for some licence holders, individuals must have one of the following before they can apply for – or otherwise renew – a door supervisor or security officer licence:
*one of the new qualifications set in place in April 2021
*one of the older licence-linked qualifications and a ‘top-up’ qualification
Those holding a door supervisor licence can choose one of the following options:
*take the door supervisor top-up training and renew the door supervisor licence
*take the security officer top-up training and switch to a security officer licence
In either case, the individual concerned must have an Emergency First Aid at Work qualification (or equivalent) before they can take the top-up training.
More relevant course material
The SIA has moved training that’s critical for all sectors to the ‘common unit’ (to be taken by all security operatives). This includes new training on terror threat awareness and dealing with emergencies.
New sector-specific content has been introduced. For example, the door supervision course includes new material on the use of equipment such as body-worn video recorders and breathalysers, while the Public Space Surveillance (ie CCTV) course includes new material on CCTV operational procedures and the law.
The security guarding course includes new material covering personal safety. The close protection course will include a bespoke physical intervention unit for close protection operatives.
The SIA has increased the number of practical elements in the training to help learners reinforce their knowledge. The practical assessments include searching, dealing with conflict, report/statement writing and using communications devices.
*Read Changes to SIA Licence-Linked Training: Your questions answered to find out more