In a letter to Government ministers, the Security Regulation Alliance has called for unanimous support of the proposed new regulatory regime for the private security industry, and urged them to consider the benefits of security regulation against the backdrop of the Government’s wider deregulatory agenda.
Writing to the Minister for Business and Enterprise and the Minister for Government Policy, Security Regulation Alliance chairman and BSIA chief executive James Kelly expressed the industry’s frustration with the continued delays in preparing the necessary legislative groundwork for the implementation of a new regulatory regime.
“Despite the recent announcement made by the Security Industry Authority (SIA) of the proposed timescales for the implementation of business licensing, there are still several factors yet to be clarified by Government on which the long-term success of the transition will heavily depend.”
Elaborating on this statement, Kelly continued: “First, the Government has yet to identify a suitable legislative vehicle through which suitable enforcement powers can be granted to the SIA. Also, the failure of Government to clarify the cost of the new regime is leaving many security companies in the dark when it comes to business forecasting for the coming years.”
Kelly explained: “The Security Regulation Alliance is concerned that the transition to a new regulatory regime is being delayed by a number of Government departments, namely the Treasury and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) who are expressing concerns about the cost to the taxpayer and the perceived contradiction against the Government’s deregulatory agenda. Our letter aims to provide reassurances that the cost of licensing has always been – and will continue to be – borne by industry, and that regulation has, in fact, had a positive influence on the security sector.”
Role of regulation in raising standards
The role of regulation in raising standards within the industry is a prime example of the positive effects of regulation, which the Security Regulation Alliance believes has improved public safety while providing industry practitioners with the credibility to support the police service when it comes to low-level crime and community policing.
Regulation has also played an important role in encouraging healthy competition throughout the industry, the letter claims. Prior to regulation, customers relied upon BSIA membership and larger company reputation to screen suppliers, making market entry harder for new competitors.
The Security Regulation Alliance believes that the total removal of formal regulation would reverse these benefits.
Overriding need for clarity
In the letter, Kelly writes: “The new regulatory regime will be good for all businesses, reduce cost and help build a private security industry that is fit to hold the public’s trust and support the police. However, this will only be the case if all phases of the new regulatory regime are completed with proportionate powers that allow robust enforcement to be continued. If, as seems possible, an incomplete process without primary legislation is enacted, it would be damaging as long as the uncertainty persisted.”
Representing the Security Regulation Alliance, the BSIA has maintained pressure on the Government for clarity through its programme of Parliamentary roundtable meetings and also by way of its attendance at bloth the Conservative and Labour Party Conferences earlier this month.
“We hope that our letter provides the necessary assurances to Government that regulation is actively supported by the industry,” concluded Kelly, “and helps to obtain at least some degree of clarity for the many businesses affected by the current climate of uncertainty.”