Hiring Security Officers
Provision and performance of private security services is governed by the Private Security Industry Act 2001 and regulated by the Security Industry Authority
Aim to get ‘Best Value’
Check out: The regulator’s guide to buying private security
A EU produced Handbook is also available that provides a useful checklist of criteria for assessing the quality of private security services and it also provides an excellent system for quotes which enables bids to be assessed according to criteria of both price and quality, or in other words ‘Best Value’.
You can get the Handbook FREE by visiting the securebestvalue.org web site.
How to find an SIA Approved Contractor
To see if a supplier is an SIA approved contractor go to: https://services.sia.homeoffice.gov.uk/Pages/acsroac.aspx
To see if an individual (including a company director) is SIA licensed go to: https://services.sia.homeoffice.gov.uk/rolh
Be aware: SIA training is insufficient to meet Health & Safety legal requirements
Despite it being pretty much common knowledge across the whole security sector, many organisations still seem unaware that the training needed to qualify for an SIA Security Guard (or Door Supervisor) Licence is simply insufficient to meet Health and Safety legal expectations for a Security Officer role.
SIA conceded this as long ago as 2007, when Andy Drane, acting Chief Executive SIA said:
“On reflection, maybe some messages from us – or indeed our qualifications partners – have not been as clear and unequivocal as they might. Comments I hear range from concerns that the training needed to obtain a licence isn’t sufficient to satisfy the requirements of the job at hand, with employers having to supplement it…. We have always made it clear that the training required to obtain a licence is not necessarily all that’s needed to carry out every security operative’s role. To suggest otherwise would represent a huge challenge for operatives, with so many different security roles, sites, assignments and circumstances…..Had we taken a different approach and insisted on training and qualifications that reflect every possible aspect of the duties of those employed in the industry, we would have run the risk of people receiving too much training irrelevant to their role or assignment, or having to develop a wide range of separate qualifications for the equally wide range of different security roles……It has always been – and remains – the responsibility of the employer to ensure that every individual has the right skills for each assignment they are given.”
And, organisations contracting-in security are 100% ‘vicariously’ liable for the actions of the security Officers
Organisations contracting with private security companies to provide manned guarding services should be aware they will be fully liable for the actions of the Security Officers they hire in (and not the Security Provider company).
The reason for this is the decision of the Court of Appeal in the case of HAWLEY v LUMINAR LEISURE LIMITED & ASE SECURITY SERVICES LIMITED
The thing is that, because of the level of control exerted over contracted-in security officers (i.e. in deciding their numbers, patrols, duties, uniform, etc.), courts will deem them ‘temporary employees’ of the organisation, meaning the organisation contracting-in Security Officers will be 100% vicariously liable for the actions of those Security Officers.
Knowing this, organisations that contract-in Security Officers are advised to, without delay, source and finance suitable supplementary ‘Top Up’ training to equip them with the knowledge and skills to perform the specific role they are assigned to (i.e. derived from the Risk Assessment), as not to do so will inevitably run a higher risk of adverse outcomes occurring as well as increase the likelihood of expensive compensation pay-outs and consequential damage to the organisation’s reputation.