THE UK’s private security industry must recruit, train and licence more than 62,000 new security officers over the next 12 months to keep up with the growing demand for their services and make sure members of the public are kept safe. That’s according to the British Security Industry Association (BSIA), the trade body for the professional security industry here in the UK.
To help meet that demand, the BSIA has launched a major national initiative, entitled ‘People, Property, Places: Professionally Protected’, to increase awareness of the crucial work that security officers transact on a 24/7 basis. It also highlights that in the professional security sector offers a wide range of benefits and opportunities that are open to anyone, from any background, ethnicity, sexuality or age group.
Research conducted among BSIA member companies, who provide over 70% of private security services in the UK, indicates that the nation’s private security sector needs to boost the number of licensed security officers by 62,000 to more than 450,000 over the next 12 months in order to meet growing demand and departures from the sector.
Somewhat worryingly, the industry anticipates losing almost 20,000 officers from its workforce through factors including retirement and departures in the wake of Brexit and COVID-19.
Interest in engaging private security services has increased following the Government’s Protect Duty consultation, launched in the wake of the Manchester Arena terrorist bombing of 2017. When the legislation comes into force as expected in 2023, this will create a legal requirement for organisations to provide proportionate security measures.
BSIA members also cite rising criminality, the ongoing ‘Substantial’ terror threat level and more incidents involving members of the public with mental health issues as factors driving increased demand for security officer services.
Mike Reddington, CEO at the BSIA, explained: “The private security industry faces unprecedented demand for highly trained and licensed security officers, with businesses and event organisers recognising they need to purchase security services based on risk and professionalism rather than cost. Security is more than a hi-vis vest. Solution buyers are now more willing to invest in quality service provision to achieve a safer and more secure environment.”
Reddington continued: “Our members and their customers anticipate that the Government’s Protect Duty, introduced in the wake of the Manchester Arena terrorism attack, will become law sooner rather than later. Businesses such as event producers know full well they need to spend more on professional security officers trained in terror threat awareness and emergency First Aid in order to better protect people at venues.”
In addition, Reddington commented: “As a sector, we are moving quickly to attract more security officers into the industry, letting people know that security can be a career of choice for team players who care about providing a professional service to protect people, property and places and who will commit to the training. Failure to achieve this could compromise public safety, with some bigger events possibly not being able to run as planned.”
Concluding his views on this hugely important matter, Reddington noted: “The stereotypical image of a security officer working in a low-paid, low-skilled job doesn’t match with the image of those working in today’s modern profession. As stated, there’s a lot more to the job than wearing a hi-vis vest.”
The BSIA’s campaign page features information on security industry-centric careers, skills and training, security officer profiles and links to live job opportunities from leading UK providers of security services.
*Follow the new BSIA campaign on social media by visiting the following platforms:
Facebook: Security a Career of Choice
1 The Tything