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Govt consults on private security accountability goals

Plans to make private security businesses across the UK more accountable for quality and standards have been unveiled by the government.

The Security Industry Authority (SIA) currently regulates the private security industry through the compulsory licensing of individuals who work as security guards including door supervisors, CCTV operatives and those involved in close protection (eg bodyguards).

Fresh proposals, which are now the subject of a public consultation, would move responsibility for the standards and behaviour of 330,000 security staff from the SIA onto an estimated 4,200 businesses currently operating in the UK.

This will free up the SIA to focus its resources on driving up standards across the industry and combating organised criminality by targeting companies or employees that fail to meet required standards.

As industry regulator, the SIA will have a range of penalties at its disposal for businesses that do not uphold standards including banning them from working in the private security industry and even criminal prosecution.

Minister for Criminal Information Lord Taylor of Holbeach, said: “The government is committed to reforming the private security industry in order to improve transparency and accountability. Our plans will raise standards and free up the SIA to concentrate on stamping out poor business practices and criminality.

‘It is also important that legitimate businesses are not over burdened by government regulation and red-tape. By lowering the cost of regulation on the industry, savings can be passed onto customers.’

Chief Executive of the SIA Bill Butler said: “The SIA has been working with the private security industry to deliver better, quicker and cheaper regulation.

‘We welcome the government’s proposal for more efficient and cost effective regulation, which will continue to reduce criminality, protect the public and improve standards within the industry.”

The public consultation on the future regulatory regime for the private security industry has will run for eight weeks and if the government’s preferred option of making private security businesses across the UK more accountable is accepted, legislation to enable the reforms to take place would be passed by October 2013 with changes coming into force after this date.

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