If you work as a private security guard on a contractor basis, you must hold a licence with the Security Industry Authority (SIA). Otherwise, you are committing a criminal offence and could be prosecuted.

Unlicensed Security Guards – England and Wales

If you have been charged with a criminal offence, please contact us for a free initial enquiry. We specialise in criminal defence law and can help you throughout proceedings. We are available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Private security licences – the rules

If you work as a security operative for a company that contracts you out, then you need to hold a front-line SIA licence. You might work as a door supervisor, close protection for an individual, or protect cash and valuables in transit. An SIA licence is also needed if you are the director, partner, manager or supervisor at a business that supplies other organisations with security operatives.

These rules only apply to those whose work is part of a contract for services. An SIA licence is not usually required for someone directly employed by the company using the services, such as a guard employed by the supermarket chain he works at.

The Private Security Industry Act 2001

If you do not hold the necessary licence while working as a security guard, or while supplying security guards, then you are committing a criminal offence under the Private Security Industry Act 2001. This makes it an offence to:

  • Engage in licensable conduct without a licence; and
  • Employ unlicensed persons in licensable conduct; and
  • Obstruct SIA officials; and
  • Falsely claim SIA approved contractor status

If an offence is committed, the SIA has a range of powers at its disposal. It can:

  • Issue a written warning
  • Issue an improvement notice
  • Revoke or suspend a licence
  • Prosecute or seek to confiscate assets

SIA investigators are also permitted to enter premises and request information in connection with their investigation.

Do prosecutions happen?

The SIA regularly decides to pursue a prosecution, with some offences carrying a maximum sentence of 5 years’ imprisonment. These prosecutions should not, therefore, be taken lightly.

In one case, a man was convicted of working without a licence as a director of a security company. He was ordered to pay £20,000 within six weeks and a further £20,000 within six months or he will serve 18 months’ imprisonment in default.

In another, a man was convicted for supplying unlicenced operatives and acting as an unlicenced operative himself. He was caught working at a party for 400 under-18-year-olds. The police were called after a disturbance and the security operative could not show a valid licence. He was given four months imprisonment suspended for two years and ordered to pay £1,200 toward costs. When sentenced, he was told that he would have gone to prison if he had not been the carer for his six children.

These are just two examples. There are many more in which employees and companies have faced criminal prosecutions – and been convicted.

Solicitors For The Private Security Industry– England and Wales

If you or your company has been charged under the Private Security Industry Act 2001, please contact us at Ashmans Solicitors. We deal with all types of criminal offence and can represent you throughout proceedings. Our priority is to get the best possible outcome in your case.

Call us on 0333 009 6275. We are available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

You can also email us on enquiries@ashmanssolicitors.com or complete our Free Online Enquiry Form and we’ll be in touch soon.