Prosecution of unregulated security operators has soared this year – here VPS explains two simple checks you can make on the quality of your security provider
So far this year the Security Industry Authority (SIA), has reported twice as many unlicensed operators offences than the same period in 2015*.
How do you know how trustworthy and reliable your provider of security services is? How can you select and assess whether they will deliver true security value to your site?
Security industry insider, VPS, explains what lies behind the accreditation badges – you only have to read this once to then be in the know on how to find a reliable a provider. VPS themselves look after 50,000 properties in the UK and Ireland and is market leader in specialist property management and site security services.
1. Does your supplier have Security Industry Authority approval?
The SIA is an independent body responsible for regulating the private security industry – it reports to the Home Secretary, under the terms of the Private Security Industry Act 2001. They have two main duties: one is the compulsory licensing of individuals undertaking designated activities within the private security industry, and secondly, to manage the voluntary Approved Contractor Scheme, which measures private security suppliers against independently assessed criteria. You can easily check if your provider is approved on their website; the quickest way is to search by contractor name: www.sia.homeoffice.gov.uk
Whilst the approved contractor scheme is voluntary, security guards they employ to guard your properties must be licensed – a really quick way to sift the professionals from the cowboys is to ask your contractor to confirm that, or better still, carry out a spot check on one site.
SIA licensing covers manned guarding and key holding. Licensing ensures that private security staff are ‘fit and proper’ persons who are properly trained and qualified to do their job. The Approved Contractor Scheme introduced a set of operational and performance standards for private security firms. This accreditation provides purchasers of security services with independent proof of a contractor’s commitment to quality.
It’s surprising how many of ‘UK’s leading security providers’ don’t make the SIA approved list.
2. Do they have an SSAIB certificate?
Definitely the longest abbreviation in the security sector, but alongside the SIA, one of the most important. The Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board (SSAIB) is a leading certification body for organisations providing security systems, fire detection and alarm systems, telecare systems, manned security and monitoring services. It is approved by the SIA for certification of the SIA Approved Contractors Scheme. If, for example, you are choosing a supplier that claims to provide a remote video response monitoring service, or an alarm receiving centre, you can ensure a high measure of quality and reliability if they have an SSAIB certificate for that service. It’s very simple to check online by entering the company name: https://ssaib.org/security-provider-search/ that lists that firm’s certification and its scope.
“Anyone can slap a logo up on their website to give the impression they hold a certificate or belong to an approved contractor scheme.” Comments Gavin Pringle, Managing Director, VPS. “Often they’ll go unchallenged, but if they are, they’ll be ready with a well-practised spiel claiming they are preparing themselves for accreditation, it’s due soon, or my favourite, ‘we practise to the same standards’. It’s misleading, probably bordering on illegal, but nowadays you check up on it so easily – just search the company’s name on the accreditation websites. Give yourself peace of mind you are dealing with a professional, not a cowboy.”