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Security sector quango faces axe in cost drive
September 24, 2010

The Home Office is preparing to scrap the body which regulates bouncers and other security workers across the UK.

The Security Industry Authority has been placed under the axe as part of a wider plan to cut the number and cost of public bodies.

Abolishing the SIA will not save taxpayers money because it is largely self-financing, but a Home Office document, seen by the BBC, suggests the move would save security firms money and contribute to "reducing burdensome regulation".

The document suggests the industry has matured enough to police itself.

A Home Office spokesman said no final decision had been made but the department expected to "make an announcement in due course".

Start Quote

There's a danger that the serious and organised crime element would find it easier to get themselves re-established”

End QuoteRussel KerrSecuriGroup

The spokesman added: "The government is committed to making substantial reforms of its public bodies to increase accountability and reduce their number and cost.

"All departments are working with the cabinet office and treasury to assess our public bodies and ensure they perform an essential role which has to be carried out by government and cannot be provided more efficiently elsewhere."

Some industry figures are worried that scrapping formal regulation could have a negative effect.

Russel Kerr, managing director of SecuriGroup, an SIA approved contractor in Glasgow said: "It may knock us back 10 years. There's a danger also that the serious and organised crime element would find it easier to get themselves re-established."

Private security has always had a shadowy reputation, with some firms linked to drug dealing, money laundering and extortion.

The SIA was tasked with reducing crime and improving standards in the industry.

It licences bouncers, in-store guards, CCTV operators and other qualified security workers who pass background checks.

There are almost 350,000 security workers with valid licences across the UK.

Regulation began in 2003 in England and Wales and was extended to Scotland in 2007 and to Northern Ireland in 2009.

 

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