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Private Security Industry Act 2001


4.The private security industry comprises several sectors, including those concerned with:

  • guarding people and property;

  • immobilising vehicles (wheelclamping);

  • private investigators; and

  • security consultants.

5.In March 1999, the Government set out proposals for statutory regulation of the industry in a White Paper “The Government’s Proposals for Regulation of the Private Security Industry in England and Wales, CM 4254”. It made clear its intention to come forward with legislation as soon as Parliamentary time was available. The broad thrust of the proposals was that

  • regulation would help to raise standards, and ensure greater consistency, building upon progress that the industry has already achieved over recent years through self-regulation;

  • arrangements should be introduced to vet people working in the industry, again to ensure consistency and, in particular, to exclude criminal elements, who abuse positions of trust in which the industry places them by committing offences, and who as a consequence tarnish the image of the industry as a whole; and

  • companies providing a satisfactory service measured against relevant agreed standards should receive recognition, and be able to demonstrate such recognition to customers, through a voluntary inspection scheme.

6.Over 180 responses were received from a broad range of interests within the industry and outside. The great majority were supportive of the proposals. A large number of detailed matters were raised, which were taken into account by the Government in developing the provisions in this Act.

7.The Act makes provision for a new Non-Departmental Public Body, the Security Industry Authority (referred to as “the Authority”). The Authority will have responsibility for licensing individuals to work within designated sectors of the private security industry and, under voluntary arrangements, approving suppliers of such services.

8.Everyone working within designated sectors of the industry will be required to have a licence issued by the Authority. It will be an offence to work in those sectors without a licence. It will also be an offence to employ an unlicensed person, except where there is a valid defence. Certain circumstances will permit exemptions from the requirement to have a licence.

9.The Authority will be required to establish and publish the criteria it uses in reaching any of the decisions this Act authorises it to make. There will be an avenue of appeal against the Authority’s decisions.

10.A national register of approvals granted by the Authority (to both individuals and companies) will be established and be open for inspection.

11.The Act contains powers to convert the voluntary inspection and approval of suppliers of security services into a compulsory scheme, if the Secretary of State judges this appropriate.

12.Suppliers achieving Authority approval under the scheme of voluntary inspection will be able to advertise themselves accordingly.

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