For those who read my blog posts, you will know that I regularly attend meetings with the SIA as we are helping them with the overhaul of both their website and the Security Officer / Door Supervisor qualifications. Recently I was asked to join their Expert Working Group. This group is made up of members of the SIA, the examination board and security experts from around the country. To be classed as one of those the SIA see as an expert within the field of security is a great privilege. Throughout the day we discussed the Security Officer qualification, the issues that security officers face, and the issues that we as employers face. A big issue that came up across the board was that just because a security officer is not working in a club or on a door (they aren’t qualified to do so) doesn’t mean they won’t face the same issues that a Door Supervisor does. For example; I was walking past Tesco a few months ago when a teenager, clearly high on something, had tried to steal a bottle of wine. Upon confrontation, he smashed the bottle and tried to use it as a weapon against the security officer. Security officers are not trained to deal with alcohol related problems, as the initial idea behind their license was a very low risk role. However, this poor security officer was expected to diffuse the situation and restrain the thief until the police arrived. As a group we were in agreement that, realistically, there needs to be just one license – that all security personnel need to be trained in the same way because of the way society has evolved over time.

Another item that was discussed in depth was the exam papers. Having a multiple choice exam paper means that even by guessing at the answers with no background knowledge, the candidate has a good chance of passing. It was agreed across the board that the exams should be structured in such a way that the exams need to be free text – that the candidate should need to write their answers in detail. This would give both the knowledge that the candidate has good written English communication skills (essential criteria because how else will he/she write their reports in the event of an incident) in addition to knowing their field.

All in all, it was a very long but productive day, and I highly recommend De Vere Holborn Bars in London – the venue was stunning and the lunch was delicious!