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4.Legislative Context

4.1.The 2001 Act sets out a system for the statutory regulation of the private security industry by a non-Departmental Public Body, the Security Industry Authority (SIA), set up under sections 1 and 2 of and Schedule 1 to the Act. The SIA has responsibility for licensing individuals to work within designated sectors of the private security industry.

4.2.Under the 2001 Act any individual who carries out an activity that has been designated under section 3(3) of the Act is required to hold a licence issued by the SIA. It is an offence under section 3(1) of the 2001 Act to carry out a designated activity without a licence.

4.3.The activities that have been designated to date in England, Wales and Scotland include the guarding of people, property and premises, and the immobilisation of vehicles that are not on public roads (wheel clamping). No activities have been designated in Northern Ireland as the 2001 Act has only recently been extended to Northern Ireland.

4.4.The aim of the Home Office and the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) is that the majority of activities that are currently designated under the 2001Act in relation to England and Wales, and Scotland, will be designated in Northern Ireland from December 2009 onwards(1). The effect of the designation will be that these activities can only be carried out legally in Northern Ireland with an SIA Licence. Once this has been done there will be a unified regime for the regulation of the private security industry across the United Kingdom.

4.5.The instrument covered by this memorandum is intended to make amendments to the 2001 Act in advance of December 2009 to ensure that the regime in Northern Ireland mirrors that already in place in the rest of the United Kingdom.

4.6.The first amendment relates to an exemption in section 4 of the 2001 Act for those working in certain sports grounds from any requirement to hold a licence under the Act. The exemption does not currently apply in Northern Ireland, as it is defined by reference to the Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975 and the Fire Safety and Places of Sport Act 1987, neither of which extends to Northern Ireland. The amendment will extend the exemption to Northern Ireland by adding references to the equivalent Northern Ireland legislation, the Safety of Sports Grounds (NI) Order 2006.

4.7.The second amendment relates to Schedule 2 which lists the various activities that can be designated under the 2001 Act (the designation triggers the requirement to hold an SIA Licence). One of the activities listed at paragraph 8 of Schedule 2 is the work of door supervisors or other security personnel in licensed premises. The definition of licensed premises in paragraph 8(2) of the Schedule currently only refers to licensed premises in England and Wales and Scotland.  The amendment will add references to licensed premises in Northern Ireland ensuring that door supervisors in Northern Ireland will be subject to the same licensing requirements as apply to door supervisors working in the rest of the United Kingdom (once this particular activity has been designated in relation to Northern Ireland under the Act).

4.8.Further instruments are planned under the powers to pass secondary legislation provided by the 2001 Act which will make some additional amendments to Schedule 2 to the 2001 Act in order to take account of Northern Ireland legislation and to designate licensable activities in Northern Ireland. Once these have been made the licensing scheme under the 2001 Act will be fully operational in Northern Ireland.


One important exception to this will be the work of in-house door supervisors, which will not be designated in Northern Ireland until April 2010 although it is currently a designated activity in the rest of the United Kingdom.

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