Do I need a license to work as a Bodyguard/Close Protection Officer?

Anyone who wants to become a bodyguard or close protection officer (CPO) in the UK will need to get a licence from the government.

That means, all CPOs working on the frontline in England and Wales now need a Security Industry Authority (SIA) licence. It is a criminal offence to operate without one.

Due to the nature of work in the private security industry, regulation of licences by the SIA is paramount to maintain high levels of professionalism of those who enter a career in close protection work in the United Kingdom.

What is the SIA?

The Security Industry Authority (SIA) is the public body that regulates the private security industry. It is an independent body reporting to the Home Secretary, under the terms of the Private Security Industry Act 2001.

Sia Post E1598477475379

Section 3 of the Private Security Industry Act 2001 makes it a criminal offence for individuals to engage in licensable conduct unless they have a licence. The SIA is responsible for granting, renewing and revoking these licences.

The SIA does not deliver training courses, award qualifications, or provide funding for training. The SIA sets what training needs to cover in the “specifications for learning and qualifications” which can be found on the SIA website. It also endorses awarding organisations so that they can develop qualifications, approve training providers, oversee the standard of assessment and award qualifications that the SIA recognises for licensing.

The Security Industry Authority (SIA) is the government body responsible for managing the licensing process. To qualify for a licence, frontline security operatives need to be over 18, pass an identity and criminality check, and show that their skills and knowledge meet nationally recognised standards.

The SIA publish an online register of licence holders. Individuals operating within the security industry must hold an SIA licence.

The bottom line is that all security professionals working in England or Wales need a Close Protection Licence issued by the Security Industry Authority (SIA) to work.

The process of getting a licence can be more complicated than many people realise, but don’t worry, in the following articles, we’re going to outline the process and make it as straightforward as possible.


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