The private security industry in UK has existed for centuries, even pre-dating the police services which were created in 1829. It was mainly responsible for the security of wealthy businessmen and also for bringing criminals to justice. Back in the days, people working as security personnel were known as ‘watchmen’ or ‘thief takers.’

The main responsibilities of security personnel are:

  • To prevent and detect crime and unauthorised activities
  • To prevent and reduce loss, waste and damage
  • To monitor and respond to safety risks

The present security industry in UK is mostly regulated by British Security Industry Association (BSIA), which is the trade association for the professional security industry in the UK. It works closely in cooperation with other agencies such as British Standards Institution and Association of British Insurers to monitor the standards of security services and products.

Around 75,500 security officers are employed by the BSIA member security guarding companies. It was also responsible for lobbying for the Private Security Industry Act to regulate the security guarding industry.

The Private Security Industry Act of 2001 demands that individuals working in the private security business possess a licence from Security Industry Authority (SIA). To get this licence, an individual needs to pass a criminal record check as well as be competent in conflict management and communication skills.  Right now, the Act applies only to contracted security personnel.

At present, the BSIA works in the following sectors:

  • Access Control
  • Associate
  • Cash and Property Marking
  • Cash and Valuables in Transit
  • CCTV
  • Civil Aviation Security
  • Close Protection
  • Crowd Management
  • Export Council
  • Information Destruction
  • Leisure Industry Security
  • Physical Security Equipment
  • Police and Public Services
  • Security Consultancy
  • Security Equipment Distributors
  • Security Equipment Manufacturers
  • Security Guarding
  • Security Systems

Some useful statistics about BSIA

  • It looks over around 4.25 million security cameras installed all over UK
  • BSIA member companies have a total turnover of £4.33 billion
  • BSIA security guarding companies have a total turnover of £1.575 billion
  • BSIA security system companies have a total turnover of £654 million
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