On 20 March 2006 it became illegal to work as a contracted-in security guard, in England and Wales, without a Security Industry Authority (SIA) Licence. It is also illegal to provide or use security guards who do not have the appropriate licence. This applies to those working in the security, public space surveillance CCTV, close protection and cash and valuables in transit sectors. Security guards working at licensed premises and places of regulated entertainment (door supervisors) have been required to have an SIA licence since April 2005.
It is the responsibility of the individual to obtain the licence but the employing company must check to make sure that the individual is properly licensed. The consequences for failing to obtain a licence or contracting-in or supplying unlicensed staff are:
- Summary conviction at a Magistrates’ Court with a maximum penalty of six months’ imprisonment and/or a fine of up to £5,000; or
- Trial on indictment at the Crown Court with an unlimited fine and/or up to five years’ imprisonment.