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Warning To Scots

by msecadm4921

Act now, Scotland. That was the message by Rachael White of the Security Industry Authority to Scottish delegates at a Reliance Security Services conference in Edinburgh on the future of the country’s private security industry.

Mrs White, Head of Investigation, said that experience gained from licensing in England and Wales showed that the better prepared businesses were, the smoother the regulation process would be.

Scottish security businesses and staff will be regulated from November 2007, but the SIA is already taking registrations. As in England and Wales, Scottish officers involved in a range of security duties must undergo training and criminality tests to be licensed.

Working without a licence and employing anyone without a licence will both be criminal offences after November 2007. The licensing covers duties such as manpower security, keyholding, CCTV operations and door supervision.

What they say

"We are confident that with the experience we have had in England and Wales we can achieve the regulation of the private security industry in Scotland in time for the deadline," Mrs White said.

She explained that the changes being brought in had come about after lengthy discussions between the industry and the Government. There were concerns about criminality in an industry that played such an important role in the protection of property and possessions. In addition, many in the security business were anxious to raise standards in order to take on greater responsibilities.

Mrs White gave an overview of the changes in England and Wales. The biggest challenge had been the large number of security staff and their employers who had left it until the last minute to apply for licences. This had led to a backlog that the SIA was still attempting to clear despite the regulation deadline being on March 20 this year.

This was one of the reasons she urged the Scottish industry to get their applications in early. It was also, she said, a good reason for companies to consider becoming members of the Approved Contractor Scheme (ACS). This is a voluntary Scheme, but one that the SIA hopes will become viewed as a benchmark of quality by potential customers. Importantly, the Scheme has the advantage of giving accredited organisations the ability to employ a small proportion of non-licensed personnel who are trained and have submitted an application, but who are not working with children or vulnerable adults.

The theme of being proactive in seeking licensing approval was pursued by David Donnelly, Director of Quality Improvement at Reliance Security Services.

"Take action now – don’t wait," Mr Donnelly told delegates as he recounted the experience of Reliance in getting its personnel approved. "It has been a new system which has had its difficulties, but by acting now, Scottish security won’t have to face the kind of delays we have seen in England and Wales."

He also warned against employers leaving their staff to get their licences under their own steam. "Don’t. We all know that if left to their own devices, most people will keep putting things off. It’s vital that you are there with them every step of the way through the licensing process."

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