Becoming a Security Guard in the United Kingdom is similar to a lot of other nations and jurisdictions:
You need to meet basic UK Security Guard license requirements such as age, language proficiency, and other usual requirements of this nature.
To become a Security Guard in the UK, you will need to take a government approved UK Security Guard licensing course, administered by approved private training providers.
Furthermore, you'll need to take and pass a First Aid course.
In the UK, the government body that controls a United Kingdom Security Guard's license is the Security Industry Authority.
So, it is the SIA that will have a list of approved Security Guard licensing courses.
Once you submit the proof of your ability to meet the requirements and completion of the Security Guard licensing course to the SIA, you will get your UK Security Guard license.
UK Security Guard Requirements
Age: You must be 18yo or older.
Criminal Record: You cannot have a criminal record. The SIA will perform a criminal rec check on you after you apply.
UK Citizen: You need to be a UK citizen or be legally allowed to work in the UK. You'll have to submit a copy of government ID to the SIA.
English: You must be able to speak and write in English.
Government Approved Security Course: You will need to complete a license course approved by the SIA and submit proof of completion. This can be an online course. Contact the SIA for a list of approved courses. This is the best method to make sure you take the correct security course.
First Aid: As of 2021, you'll need First Aid certified training to obtain a Security Guard license. Contact the SIA for a list of approved First Aid courses.
ID Photo: You will have to provide the SIA with a certified photo. Passport photo services should have information on certifying photos.
Fee: You will have to pay a small licensing fee when applying for the license, around £200.
Submitting: The documents you submit can be sent to the SIA via mail or online uploading.
What Does a UK Security Guard Do?
UK Security Guards Patrol Vacant Locations
UK Security Guards will do foot patrols of locations for a set number of times per shift.
A common task for a UK Security Guard will be checking mechanical rooms for any unusual signs or potential health and safety issues.
UK Security Guards watch for hazards and fill out hazard reports (UK Guards write a lot of reports).
Guards in UK document and report maintenance issues to supervisors.
Many UK security sites require Guards to monitor fire extinguishers to ensure that they are not overdue for inspection (official reviews are done by maintenance personnel).
UK Security Guards write a lot, including filling in logs as their shifts progresses with what activities are being done at what times. UK Guards will have their own security notebooks and will constantly note all unusual sightings, occurrences, and incidents.
UK Security Guards will respond to alarms and act accordingly as per the Emergency Response plan set in place by supervisors. This may include,
Evacuation of the security site.
Checking alarm system on the way out for information about where the problem is occurring.
Responding to incidents and completing all reports as necessary.
UK Security Guards Protect Sites with Customers
If a UK Security Guard is working in a team environment, they will usually meet for a pre-shift briefing at a set location. Once the meeting has been completed the UK Security Guards will go directly to their designated sites.
In UK security site locations with customers, Guards will do a lot of patrolling. This can be in a building or outside in places such as parking lots.
UK Security Guards are usually responsible for site cleanliness when there are no designated cleaning staff. This means as a UK Security Guard, expect to be cleaning a lot of trash.
Monitoring CCTV cameras will be a big part of a UK Security Guard’s job. This will be on a continuous basis with follow ups on issues seen.
When it comes to security sites in the service industry, UK Security Guards will have to assist customers in various non-security ways. This can be giving them directions or carrying items for them. Furthermore, UK Security Guards will often be expected to be friendly, outgoing, and talkative with customers in their security sites.
A constant security issue for UK security sites with customers will be smoking, alcohol consumption, and narcotics. UK Security Guards will often be making sure people aren’t smoking in non-smoking areas, consuming alcohol, or narcotics. For the latter, a UK Security Guard will usually report the issue to local police.
If the UK security site is a residence, responding to noise complaints will be a big part of the job.
Of course, catching shoplifters will be a constant for a UK Security Guard in a site with customers.
UK Security Guards Work at Security Gates
UK Security Guards will patrol parking areas to make sure vehicles are registered at that security site.
Every person entering through the security gate will produce valid photo ID to the UK Security Guard. The Guard will determine if the individual may pass.
During medical emergencies, the UK Security Guard will direct traffic to allow easy access for UK EMS vehicles.
UK Security Guards Deal with Medical Issues
Emergencies at a UK security site can happen at any time, day or night. On going communication will be key for all UK Security Guards involved to get through the emergency with the best possible outcome.
UK EMS/ ambulances will often be called by UK Security Guards.
The UK Security Guard that places the 911 call will relay info regarding who, what, where, why, and when.
UK Security Supervisors will usually take lead on these incidents and direct other UK Guards to specific tasks to perform during the emergency.
UK Security Guards will always remain calm and professional. Furthermore, they will assist however they can.
About the Author
Peter Sandru is an Instructor & Co-Founder of NDIL with over 15 years working in security. Peter has spent more than a decade conducting security operations throughout the world, primarily for corporations, law firms, and government agencies. Peter has assisted in the creation of numerous security training programs in various capacities.