SIA updates Qualification & Training for Close Protection
Following a review of the skills and qualifications needed to gain a licence, the Security Industry Authority (SIA) has updated the qualifications and introduced new top-up training for the close protection sector.
Ensuring CPOs have up-to-date skills
The introduction of top-up training will help to ensure that all operatives have the knowledge and skills to deal with common risks, especially in safety-critical areas. The changes follow an extensive review by the SIA which included establishing a series of expert working groups for each qualification to guide their development. Comprehensive industry research was carried out and the proposed qualification specifications were put out to a series of consultations that took place between October 2018 and February 2020.
Steve McCormick, Director of Licensing and Standards at the SIA, commenting on the changes said: “A key element of our role as the regulator is to work with the industry to protect the public and raise standards in private security. The new requirements will help to achieve this by ensuring that Close Protection operatives have the most up-to-date skills to keep themselves, their clients, and the public safe.”
Close Protection Qualifications
In April 2021, the new licence-linked qualifications were introduced, with the exception of the Close Protection qualification. On 1 April 2022, the SIA introduced an updated close protection qualification for new applicants into the sector (read our press release about this).
The close protection qualification was developed by a group of close protection specialists who shared a wealth of experience in the industry.
The experience and backgrounds of the expert stakeholders includes:
- the military
- the private security industry working in this country and abroad
- policing, including royal and diplomatic protection
- special forces
- a managing director of a professional association
- a training provider
- a police trainer
- an expert witness in respect of the use of force and physical intervention.
The new close protection qualification came into effect on 1 April 2022.
Snapshot of the changes to CPO qualifications
In summary, the changes mean that:
- From 1 April 2022 you must have the new close protection qualification to apply for a close protection licence – this does not include renewals.
- From 1 October 2022, you must have the new qualification or take top-up training before you can renew your close protection licence.
The updated qualification features four new units covering:
- bespoke physical intervention skills
- knowledge of door supervisor responsibilities (including protecting vulnerable people)
- legislation, threat and risk management
- personal skills, surveillance awareness, search procedures, foot drills, venue security, journey management reconnaissance and preparing and carrying out a close protection assignment.
The existing units which cover the theoretical and practical aspects of working as a close protection operative have been refreshed.
Close Protection Top-up Training
The SIA also announced the introduction of top-up training for close protection operatives who apply to renew their SIA licence from 1 October 2022. The top-up training will be available from July 2022.
The new top-up qualification will include physical intervention skills, safety-critical content and terror threat awareness.
Operatives must make sure that their first aid qualification has at least one year to run before they take the top-up training. The top-up requirements will only affect existing licence holders when they come to renew their licence after 1 October 2022. This means that these changes for existing licence holders will roll out over the course of the next three years.
In order for licence integration to continue, close protection operatives will be required to do both the existing physical intervention training for door supervisors and the new bespoke physical intervention for close protection operatives.
Rick Mounfield, the former Chief Executive of The Security Institute and a member of the project board that helped direct the close protection qualification project, said: “The career path for close protection officers is often difficult. Contracts can be fractious, and competition is fierce. Those that professionally develop beyond the basic requirements have always stood out from the crowd. This SIA requirement to upskill is an important evolution in the sector and those that are true professionals will welcome it. It raises the bar for all but still leaves space for enhanced professional development by choice. These enhancements are not exhaustive, but they are implemented with the collective feedback from the industry leaders and close protection officers who chose to participate in the consultation. I applaud the SIA for engaging with and listening to the experts that they regulate.”
Rick Mounfield has written a blog which you can read here. New Close Protection Training Requirements – Security Industry Authority Blog (wordpress.com)
Interested readers can find out more information on the SIA’s website ‘Changes to the training you need for an SIA licence’ page.
Change Communications Manager