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Security Industry at Maximum Capacity

 

Security Industry at Maximum Capacity

Industry bodies have called for more support for the private security sector to combat the "diminishing numbers" of qualified personnel in the UK

 

 

SECURITY AT “MAX CAPACITY” AFTER 40% DROP IN LICENCE RENEWALS

Britain is facing the prospect of a shortage of qualified event security staff following a sharp drop in the number of Security Industry Authority (SIA) licences being reissued.

Licence renewals have fallen almost 40% since 2013, according to a report published by the United Kingdom Crowd Management Association (UKCMA) – a situation which, if allowed to continue, could have a “dramatic” effect on safety at venues and large events in the UK.

“Given the ongoing heightened security threat levels, the traditional government security services are heavily supplemented by private providers,” reads the report, which follows a February 2017 survey by the University of Derby, backed by UKCMA and the Football Safety Officers Association (FSOA) that sought to explain the “diminishing numbers” of stewards in the UK. “[T]he impact of diminishing numbers of trained security personnel could be dramatic.”

The six key reasons cited for the difficulty in retaining security workers are poor rates of pay; irregular work patterns; the casual nature of the workforce; competition; the cost of qualifications; and the availability of qualified staff. The report suggests the event security sector “seems to be struggling with financial viability, which is impacting on pay and training budgets”.

This lack of qualified stewards is corroborated by UKCMA’s membership, who told the association that, “especially over the busy summer period” many security providers have been working at “maximum capacity”.

“THE GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO COLLABORATE WITH INDUSTRY AUTHORITIES ON AN ACTION PLAN TO ADDRESS THE DEFICIENCIES IN SKILLS AND NUMBERS OF SECURITY PERSONNEL”

Showsec managing director Mark Harding, who is also chairman of UKCMA, says it’s “encouraging that the industry has recognised there is a problem, as this acquisition of evidence is all in the interest of public safety. The next stage is to engage stakeholders to find solutions.”

Solutions suggested by UKCMA include diverting money from the apprenticeship levy, which it says is “unsuitable for supporting the night-time economy”, to training more security staff; creating new, more flexible, qualifications as an alternative to the standard NVQ; and ensuring the private security sector has the “necessary resources” to meet the increase in demand following a string of terrorist attacks.

“The government needs to collaborate with industry authorities on an action plan to address the deficiencies in skills and numbers of security personnel,” continues Harding. “The private industry must have the capability and capacity to meet not only ongoing business, but [also] any upsurge in demand caused by one-off incidents.”

A panel at the upcoming Event Safety & Security Summit (E3S), The 3 Rs: Reaction, Response & Recovery, questions whether there is a shortage of trained security personnel and resources. E3S takes place at the Intercontinental Hotel at The O2 in London on 10 October.

Security Industry Authority Updates

Security Industry Authority - SIA Update

SIA Update, the Security Industry Authority's newsletter for people with an interest in the private security industry
  • This month SIA Update features a new guide for buyers of private security, details of improvements we’re making to our application process and a report on our recent application ‘surgery’ with London’s Night Czar.

  • In this month's newsletter we announce our Glasgow violence reduction workshop. We also feature a report by the Security Research Initiative and we explain how you can and should provide your current passport number when you apply for a licence.

  • In this month's newsletter we ask security businesses to stay vigilant against terror attacks. We also remind approved contractors when they can issue LDNs and we explain the qualifications required to apply for a door supervision licence.

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