Starting a Private Security Agency

  • Price: £5.99
  • Published: May 2016
  • Type: Business Opportunity Profile
  • Format: PDF
  • What qualifications and skills are required?
  • Key market issues and trends
  • Trading, commercial and legal issues
  • Legislation
  • Further information

Private security agencies recruit and supply security guards, door supervisors ('bouncers') and other qualified security operatives for a range of commercial clients. Typical clients include retailers who require in-store security guards to prevent shoplifting, licensed premises owners who need door supervisors, event organisers who require stewards to control access to their event and prevent crime, and property developers and other construction firms who require security guards to prevent theft, vandalism or unauthorised entry at construction sites. Some private security agencies also provide close protection officers ('bodyguards') to private clients, particularly high-profile or high net worth individuals.

Manned guarding, door supervision, close protection and other licensable private security activities are strictly regulated in the UK. Anyone carrying out a licensable activity under a contract for service must be licensed by the Security Industry Authority (SIA) and a licence is also required to employ or supervise licensed security operatives.

In 2010, the Home Office proposed the introduction of a mandatory business licence for private security firms. The proposals were scheduled for implementation by April 2015 and would, assuming personal licences are retained, result in a two-tier licence system. However, at the time of writing (May 2016), the proposals have not been implemented.

This profile provides information about starting up and running a private security agency. It describes the skills required, the training available, the current market trends and the key trading issues. It also explains the legislation that must be complied with and provides sources of further information and support.

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