Welcome to the first of our monthly blogs.
We have launched our corporate blog to discuss developments in the private security industry and to provide further insight and opinion on our work.
We hope you will engage in an on-going discussion with us; provide comments and share your opinions.
In this first blog our Chief Executive, Alan Clamp discusses the shared responsibility for ensuring quality and raising standards across the private security industry.
Each morning, as I enter my local train station on my journey to work, I exchange greetings with the security officer on duty. He wears an SIA licence on his uniform, which I subconsciously note is on display, the correct licence for the role performed and has not expired – I have not told him about my job role and, you will be reassured to know, I do not count this interaction as a formal SIA compliance check. This regular encounter has prompted me to reflect on who exactly is responsible for the quality of security provision provided by this person?
First and foremost, it is the individual licence-holder who is responsible for quality. He is trained, approved by the SIA, and should be fully aware of the requirements of his role and his responsibilities to protect the public. The second partner in the quality assurance network is his employer. This is true regardless of whether or not the employer is an ACS company. Employers are responsible for recruitment, checking references, induction, professional development, deployment and the conduct of their employees – all key factors in the quality of security supplied. Of course the ACS provides additional safeguards that can reassure us further about quality.
Is the individual licence-holder responsible?
There are other partners who have a role to play in assuring quality and raising standards. In addition to being part of the ACS, the employer may also be a member of a trade association in the private security industry. Such associations often have membership criteria and encourage businesses to attain higher standards by sharing good practice and providing professional development opportunities. Similarly, assessment and accreditation bodies have a role to play in scrutinising and endorsing professional standards – including the awarding bodies that provide licence-linked qualifications – so they too have a responsibility for the quality of security in my local station.
But what about the buyer?
In this case I am not sure who is responsible for purchasing contracted security at my station – perhaps the rail company with the franchise to run this line? But regardless of who it is, buyers of security have a significant role to play in determining the quality of provision experienced by passengers. For example, the buyer might stipulate that ACS membership is compulsory, or it might define the working conditions of the individual operative, or the additional training requirements, or the expectations in terms of customer service – there might even be a direct relationship between the price paid and the quality provided?
Where does the SIA fit in?
Our role is to hold individuals and businesses to account for quality, and to take action if standards are not met. My purpose in pointing out that quality is a key role of a number of partners in the private security industry is not to abdicate the responsibility of the regulator, but simply to emphasise that everyone has a role to play and that, ultimately, quality will be better if we all maximise our contribution and work together in partnership. The goal is one of high standards and effective public protection – the key to achieving this is good teamwork.
On 14 March we are having our stakeholder conference in London, I’m looking forward to it. This year following your feedback we have included interactive workshops. This will provide an opportunity for all our partners to talk about standards in the private security industry, how we can improve regulation and how we can best work together to play our part in protecting the public, safeguarding the vulnerable and contributing to national security. I hope you will join us, this is an ideal opportunity for the private security industry to come together to discuss how we can do things better together.