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SIA response to BBC File on 4 investigation into security training Published Date: 09/10/2023

The documentary by the BBC's File on 4 uncovers serious failings on the part of training companies, which include offering fast track short cut training courses to obtain the qualification necessary to gain a licence from the SIA.   Findings include examples where learners are provided with answers to test, advised to fake training records and allegedly provided with anecdotal training on 'how to kill or be killed'.

The SIA has provided a detailed response to the issues raised.  The statement published on the SIA website states:

The behaviours captured in this documentary are both shocking and disappointing – it throws shade on parts of a training industry that is relied on to play its part in public safety.

We have launched an investigation into the findings of the undercover operation conducted by BBC File on 4. We are working with the qualifications regulator in England (Ofqual) and awarding organisations it regulates to further examine the issues highlighted by File on 4.

The Ofqual-approved awarding organisations have confirmed to the SIA that the training providers featured have been suspended pending further investigation.

We have suspended the licence of one individual featured in this documentary and have referred the footage that indicates criminality to the Metropolitan Police Service. We expect any training provider found to be involved in malpractice to face the appropriate sanctions.

We will be closely assessing File on 4’s materials to determine what more action the SIA can take with the individuals captured in the footage. We will, as we have done previously with File on 4, ask for full disclosure of all the materials they have gathered in the making of this documentary to assist further with our inquiries and those of the other agencies.

Where qualifications that have been awarded by the awarding organisations are shown to be unsound and are withdrawn, it will result in the suspension of a licence.

The SIA is the statutory regulator for the private security industry. It does not regulate qualifications and has no powers regarding training delivery. Powers to regulate qualifications by approval, monitoring and sanction of awarding organisations are vested in the qualifications regulators.

The SIA is absolutely committed to protecting the public and raising standards across the private security industry using the powers we currently have.

We conduct our own unannounced visits to training providers – 200 of them since 2022. This has led to 3 providers being shut down. We will continue with these unannounced visits.

Good training providers are happy to see the SIA and welcome the action we are taking to ensure those not following the rules are rooted out. If there are faults found, they are referred to the relevant awarding organisations.

We will continue to work with the qualifications regulators and awarding organisations across the UK to ensure all allegations of training malpractice are investigated.

We also will consider using our own prosecution powers in appropriate circumstances. We are determined to ensure poor practices are rooted out and support the majority who operate to good standards.

Longer term, we will continue to work with the qualification regulators, the UK Government and other partners to ensure that current regulatory arrangements in the training sector are fit for purpose with regards to the private security industry, and that we make the necessary interventions where possible.

Further information

Following the tragic events at the Manchester Arena, we have undergone significant changes in our regulatory response. We have increased our front-line resources and our inspections and investigation activity, changed our working practices, and have worked extensively with the police and other agencies to protect the public and support public safety.

Our response has also included the strengthening of the entry-level qualifications and new unannounced visits to training providers where any malpractice or concerns are forwarded to the awarding organisations. Our updates to the Manchester Arena Inquiry can found here: SIA updates regarding the Manchester Arena Inquiry.