Requirement to Hold a Licence

The text below summarises sections 3-6 of the Private Security Industry Act 2001.

These clauses create the offence of engaging in conduct for which a licence is required when not in possession of the appropriate licence. The penalty on conviction in a magistrates' court, is up to six months' imprisonment or a fine of up to £5,000, or both.

The current designated sectors or activities that must be covered by a licence are as follows:

  • manned guarding, which includes:
    • cash and valuables in transit - under contract
    • close protection - under contract
    • door supervisors - under contract and in-house
    • public space surveillance (CCTV) - under contract
    • security guarding - under contract
  • vehicle immobilising - under contract and in-house
  • key holding - under contract

These activities are defined in detail in Schedule 2 of the Act.

The Secretary of State can, by order, add or remove activities from the above list.

The following categories of people will need licences:

  • security contractors, directors of security companies and partners in security firms
  • employees of security contractors, security companies and security firms
  • agency workers performing the designated duties
  • persons who manage or supervise security operatives supplied under contract by a security contractor (but not in-house supervisors of contractors)
  • agency-supplied managers or supervisors of security operatives supplied under contract
  • directors of security companies and partners in security firms who do not themselves carry out the designated activities
  • in-house door supervisors and vehicle immobilisers and their employers, managers and supervisors
  • others who immobilise vehicles on private land against a release fee.

The Secretary of State can, by order, add or remove categories of people from the above list.

Some activities can be classified as exempt from the licensing requirements.

See also Section 4(4): Exemption for Approved Contractors