Alarm Receiving Centres

You may require a licence if you are employed to monitor alarms and your services are supplied to a third party as part of a contract for services. Whether you do require a licence depends on the nature of your role.

  • You need a licence if: when an alarm comes in your role requires you to monitor the situation for guarding purposes via electronic means (whether visual or otherwise) and assess what is happening to determine what action needs to be taken. This monitoring could also be to provide information about what has happened.
  • You do not need a licence if: when an alarm comes in you simply refer the matter to the emergency services, a private response service or a keyholder,


The Private Security Industry Act 2001 requires certain individuals to hold an SIA licence if they undertake manned guarding activities. The Act provides guidance on what it means by 'guarding'.

Paragraph 2(3) of Schedule 2 states that:

"In this paragraph references to guarding against something happening include references to so providing a physical presence or carrying out any form of patrol or surveillance, as:

  1. to deter or otherwise discourage it from happening; or
  2. to provide information, if it happens, about what has happened."

Section 25 of the Act states that surveillance "includes covertly listening to or recording conversations or other sounds and any method of covertly obtaining information." This does not exclude other forms of surveillance.