This article looks at the evolution of the security industry and the need for high-quality close protection training for those wishing to forge successful, licensed careers in it.
1. The SIA’s Licensing Scheme
The Security Industry Authority was set up largely to accredit and improve the standards of the industry and formalise the professions of those working within it. The security industry is a growth industry and large numbers of people are now working in it. This means that formal licensing and accreditation allows those individuals operating at a professional level to be formally recognised and able to progress their careers. As well as recognising licensed security practitioners, it means that those operating without the licence – and often doing so dangerously, without quality procedures or the right background – are doing so in contravention of the industry’s laws. For this reason, if you are interested in pursuing any career within the bodyguard, door, escort, surveillance, conflict resolution or security industry, you must ensure that you complete your close protection course and apply for an SIA license.
2. Finding a Good Course
There are a range of close protection course providers and each will offer something different. As a minimum, you want to ensure that the course you take will give you BTEC Close Protection Operations at Level 3 and BTEC Level 2 First Person on Scene Intermediate. Look for additional qualification options such as the L3 Maritime Security Operative (MSO), the ASAA Intermediate Handgun, or the Level 3 Advanced Driver certification, which includes RoSPA training and accreditation. There may be additional specialist courses on offer to broaden your knowledge and ensure that you are as employable as possible in this fast-paced, challenging and rewarding industry.
A good close protection course really will provide you with everything you need to succeed and cover a range of topics, including threat levels, surveillance methods and equipment, history and psychology of assassinations, conflict management, improvised explosive devices and more. Modern courses also recognise the diversity of the industry today – particularly with the rise of opportunities abroad and will offer training in corporate and executive contexts.
3. The importance of a Good Team
Also look for an experienced and passionate team with plenty of knowledge and experience in the industry. This will give you reassurance that you are learning from the best and they will have plenty of context, case studies and unique insights to bring to your learning. The best training providers will have experts from the police services, military, bodyguard, door man, driver, surveillance and maritime security industries, or access to trained professionals from these areas. This background and experience will also give you a great network and insight into how the industry works, particularly in regards to jobs and contract openings, which may otherwise be difficult to access.
4. Applying for your Licence
Once you have passed your training, you can apply for your SIA licence directly. Be aware that a criminal record within the last five years may impact on your ability to obtain the licence, so speak to the training provider first to establish your eligibility.
Idania is a recent close protection course graduate and has successfully begun a career as a security guard in maritime protection. She writes regularly for industry blogs and publications.