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Manned guarding

England and Wales


The Private Security Industry Act 2001 ("PSIA”) requires individuals concerned in the business of manned guarding, vehicle immobilisation and key holding (“designated activities” to have a licence issued by the Securities Industry Association ("SIA").

“Manned Guarding” is regulated under the Private Security Industry Act 2001 (as amended) (PSIA) and covers the following activities carried out by an individual:


* Cash and Valuables in Transit (guarding property)
* Close Protection (bodyguards)
* Door Supervision (bouncers)
* Public Space Surveillance (CCTV)
* Security Guard (guarding premises)

The PSIA also covers:


* Immobilisation, restriction and removal of vehicles (Clamping and parking enforcement)(i)
* Key Holding

(i) Wheel clamping without lawful authority has been unlawful in England and Wales since 1 October 2012. It is an offence to clamp, tow away or immobilise a vehicle without lawful authority to do so, punishable by a fine if convicted [Protection of Freedoms Act s.54]. Clamping and towing is only lawful if carried out by the police, local authorities, government agencies such as the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) and Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) , and certain other bodies acting in accordance with statutory or other powers, such as railway stations and airports. Bodies with lawful authority to clamp and tow may continue to contract out this work to private companies.

 

Licences


It is an offence under the PSIA  for a person to engage in any designated activities except under and in accordance with a licence. A licence is required by any person carrying out designated activities, supervising, managing or employing such a person, or being a director of a company employing such a person.

Tacit consent: THe SIA state that aims to process a minimum of 80% of all correctly completed applications within 25 working days. However, it does not appear from the SIA website that tacit consent applies.

The PSIA also provides for the licensing of private investigation activities, security consultants and (in Scotland) precognition agents. However, these powers have not yet been brought into force.

 

Northern Ireland


The PSIA also applies in Northern Ireland but under specific subordinate legislation: the Private Security Industry Act 2001 (Designated Activities) (Northern Ireland) Order 2009. This order regulates manned guarding under the PSIA. NB: check with the SIA (see below) for any other activities brought into regulation in NI.

Clamping or towing away a motor vehicle on private land is not a criminal offence in NI, unlike Northern Ireland.

Scotland


The PSIA also applies in Scotland under specific subordinate legislation The Private Security Industry Act 2001 (Designated Activities) (Scotland) Order 2007. This order are regulates manned guarding and key holding under the PSIA. NB: check with the SIA (see below) for any other activities brought into regulation in Scotland.

Clamping and towing away a motor vehicle on private land has been banned in Scotland since 1992.

 

Security Industry Association


The Security Industry Authority (SIA) is the organisation responsible for regulating the private security industry in the UK. It deals with applications for licences which are of two types:
* front line licence is required if undertaking licensable activity, other than key holding activities (this also covers undertaking non-front line activity). A front line licence is in the form of a credit card-sized plastic card that must be worn, subject to the licence conditions.
* non-front line licence is required for those who manage, supervise and/or employ individuals who engage in licensable activity, as long as front line activity is not carried out ; this includes directors or partners. A non-front line licence is issued in the form of a letter that also covers key holding activities.

Approved Contractor Scheme


SIA ACS logoThe legislation provides for the SIA to establish a register of providers of security services which meet the required standards. The SIA has accordingly set up the Approved Contractor scheme with sector-specific approval based on a relevant set of qualifying criteria.
For further information, visit the SIA website

Proposed Reform


The UK Government published a consultation documenton a future regulatory regime for the private security industry which proposed a phased transition to a new regulatory regime for the private security industry. The Government published its reponse to the consultation in September 2013; see Consultation on a future regulatory regime for the private security industry

Subject to Parliamentary approval, it is expected that the SIA will become a regulatory body outside Government, businesses (as distinct from individuals) will be subject to licensing and individuals will be subject to registration. Licensing may extend to private investigation activities, security consultants and (in Scotland) precognition agents.

The Scottish Government and the Department of Justice for Northern Ireland (NI) have devolved responsibility for the regulation of the private security industry and have not yet decided whether they will adopt the Government’s preferred option. Both have indicated that they are supportive of a single UK wide regulatory regime for the private security industry and, therefore, decided to participate in the consultation in order to capture views of the industry in their respective regions.

 

Enforcement


Civil Enforcement:


Licences: the SIA may impose conditions on licences, give written warnings and improvement notices, suspend or cancel licences.


Civil liability: under general common law principles, it is possible that an employer of an unlicensed security operative could be liable to a third party for damage caused by the security operative.

Criminal enforcement

The PSIA creates a number of offences including engaging in licensable activities without a licence, supplying to another or employing a person to engage in licensable activities without a licence and breaching the conditions of a licence. It is also an offence for an occupier of premises to employ unlicensed wheel clampers subject to a due diligence defence. The exact penalties depend on the offence but may go up to an unlimited fine and/or five years imprisonment in the worst case.

[Page updated: 17/12/2014]

 



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