Changes to SIA licence-linked training

1. New licence-linked qualifications

Questions in this section:

1.1 How long will the new training take?

Please see the table below.

QualificationsWith self-studyWithout self-study
Cash and Valuables in Transit24 hours over 3 days27 hours over 4 days
Close Protection194 hours over 18 days194 hours over 18 days
Door Supervision44 hours over 6 days52 hours over 7 days
Public Space Surveillance (CCTV)22 hours over 3 days30 hours over 4 days
Security Guarding30 hours over 4 days38 hours over 5 days

1.2 Why are the security officer and door supervisor courses a day longer than they were?

There are more practical assessments in the new content, which take longer. Everyone will need to do at least 1 physical search. The SIA has added more content including personal safety, knowledge of physical intervention for security officers, and knowledge of door supervision equipment for door supervisors. Any repeated content has been removed.

1.3 Why has the SIA included more practical assessments?

The SIA wants the assessment to be more rigorous. This is why they have included more practical elements such as searching.

1.4 How much will the new training cost?

Training providers will determine the cost for each course.

Our courses are competitively priced and can be seen here:

SIA Security Training Courses – Axiom Dynamics

As the length of the courses has increased and with the additional administration placed on training providers, you will notice that the cost of these courses has also increased.

1.5 What role has the private security industry played in developing the new licence-linked qualifications?

The private security industry played a fundamental role in developing the new qualifications. For example:

  • the SIA conducted robust research within the industry on skills
  • front line industry experts drafted the specifications
  • the SIA did 2 rounds of public consultation on all of the draft qualification specifications. With over 6,000 responses to their consultations, which were mostly from licence holders.

2. Top-up training

Questions in this section:

2.1 Who needs to do the top-up training?

The SIA explain this on their Changes to the training you need for an SIA licence page.

2.2 When do I need to do top-up training?

The SIA explain this on their Changes to the training you need for an SIA licence page.

2.3 How long will it take to do the top-up training?

It depends on which licence you want to apply for:

  • Door supervisor = 2 days
  • Security guard = 1/2 day

In both cases, you will need to complete first aid training (Emergency First at Work or equivalent) before you take the top-up training. The first aid training is 1 day.

2.4 What is included in the top-up training?

An Emergency First Aid at Work qualification (or equivalent) must be completed before taking the top-up training.

Door supervisors:

  • use of equipment
  • updated terror threat awareness
  • physical intervention skills refresher training (knowledge and practical)
  • knowledge around critical incidents eg. where to access government guidance on pandemic responses

Security guards:

  • knowledge of physical intervention
  • updated terror threat awareness
  • knowledge around critical incidents eg. where to access government guidance on pandemic responses

2.5 How much will the top-up training cost?

Training providers will determine the costs. The SIA does not set the costs of training.

2.6 Why do I need to do top-up training?

The private security industry is increasingly recognised as providing an important role in the protection of the public. This recognition brings scrutiny, and it is more important than ever that the industry maintains and improves its standards.

The SIA has updated the qualifications to reflect the current risks that a licensed security operative may come across in their work. It is important that all licence holders have the knowledge and skills to deal with common risks, especially in safety-critical areas.

A key element of the SIA’s role as the regulator is to work with the industry to raise standards in private security. The new requirements will help to achieve this.

The new licence-linked qualifications and top-up training reflect what has been learned from extensive research, consultation, and engagement. This took into account the views of approximately 6,000 respondents, and also included:

  • views from front line staff and security businesses on working practices, environments, and emerging technology
  • input from the National Counter Terrorism Security Office and the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure to develop counter terrorism training
  • advice from experts in specialist areas like physical intervention
  • recommendations from coroner’s inquests following deaths involving security operatives

2.7 How will trainers deliver top-up training? Will the training be via e-learning or practical?

You can do the training using a range of options: face-to-face, self-study, or within a virtual classroom.

For the door supervision top-up training, the practical elements of the physical intervention unit can only be taught face-to-face.

2.8 Do I have to have the first aid training before I do my door supervisor or security guard top-up training?

Yes. From 1 April you must complete Emergency First Aid at Work training, or the equivalent, before taking a new licence-linked qualification. From 1 October this also applies to those taking top-up training.

2.9 How will the top-up training be assessed?

The security guard top-up training will be assessed by 2 exams (security guarding knowledge and terror threat awareness). The door supervisor top-up training will be assessed by 3 exams (door supervisor knowledge, terror threat awareness and physical intervention knowledge) plus a practical physical intervention assessment.

2.10 How far in advance of my renewal date can I complete the top-up training?

Top-up training for door supervisors and security guards will be available from 1 April 2021. You can renew your licence 4 months before your existing licence expires.

3. Emergency First Aid at Work qualification

Questions in this section:

3.1 Do I need to send my first aid certificate to the SIA?

No, the SIA will not verify first aid certificates. Your training provider must check that you have the correct first aid qualification before they allow you to do the licence-linked qualification.

3.2 I have an existing and valid first aid qualification. Can I present my existing qualification certificate?

Yes, your training provider will accept your existing qualification if it is still valid for a minimum of a year. It must also be on the SIA’s list of acceptable first aid qualifications.

3.3 Why did the SIA choose the basic Emergency First Aid at Work rather than a full first aid at work qualification?

The SIA had to strike a balance between the need for greater skills, the level of risk, and the cost to you. That is why they chose the basic emergency first aid level.

3.4 Does the first aid requirement apply to security guards who are not public facing?

Yes. We base our qualification requirements on licensable activity. If you are applying for a door supervision or security guarding licence, you must fulfil our first aid requirement before starting your application.

First aid is already mandatory for licensed close protection operatives. They must have the three-day First Aid at Work qualification.

3.5 Will current training providers provide the first aid training, or will I need to find a separate course?

This will depend on the training provider.

Some providers will offer a combined programme, for example:

  • first aid training on day 1
  • licence-linked training from day 2 onwards

If they do not, you will need to find first aid training elsewhere.

3.6 What if I am disabled and cannot physically or mentally do the first aid qualification?

Speak with your training provider to see what reasonable adjustments can be made for you.

3.7 Door supervisors and security guards must take first aid training. What about CCTV operators and Cash and Valuables in Transit operatives?

Emergency First Aid at Work or equivalent is not required for public space surveillance (CCTV) or cash and valuables in transit licence holders. Door supervisor and security guard licence applicants will need evidence of their first aid training before they can join a training course.

3.8 Will there be enough trainers to deliver first aid training?

The SIA has spoken with the Health and Safety Executive. They have confirmed that first aid providers have the capacity to cover this new requirement.

We provide Emergency First Aid courses for all our SIA licence-link qualifications.

3.9 Will security staff be obliged to carry out first aid now that they have training? What has been done to mitigate the risk of liability or malpractice/negligence?

The new first aid requirement does not change the responsibilities or liabilities of employers or operatives to ensure safe working environments. The SIA is raising the basic required skillset of licence holders, not changing the obligations individuals have to respond in an emergency.

4. Terror threat awareness training

Questions in this section:

4.1 Is counter-terrorism training compulsory now that the new licence-linked qualifications have launched?

Terror threat awareness was already part of the licence-linked qualifications. The new qualifications include the latest guidance from both the National Counter Terrorism Security Office and the Centre for Protection of National Infrastructure.

Top-up qualifications also contain updated terror threat content for door supervisors and security officers.

The new assessments include questions relating to counter-terrorism.

The SIA has created an e-learning course called ACT Security that is specifically designed for security operatives. They have authorised training providers to accept your ACT Awareness and ACT Security certificates as evidence of your participation in the course.

4.2 How can I access the ACT Awareness and ACT Security e-learning courses?

Both e-learning modules are free. You can access ACT e-learning in 2 ways:

  1. Ask your employer. If they are hosting the module on their learning management system, they will be able to track your progress.
  2. Ask for access to the ACT e-learning site. You can do this by sending an email to Follow the instructions they send back to access the courses.

4.3 I have already done the ACT Awareness e-learning; do I need to do the ACT Security e-learning?


When you have completed both courses (ACT and ACT for Security) then you will need to take an exam. Your training provider will give you more guidance when you sign up for the course.

In the meantime, please keep your existing certificate as evidence.

4.4 I have completed the ACT e-elearning courses. Will I need to do them again when I renew?

The SIA are still looking at what top-up training will look like in the future. They recommend that all security operatives undertake a yearly refresher on counter-terrorism and safety-critical content. ACT Awareness and ACT Security can be taken at any time, and the SIA has published guidance on how to get training and advice on counter-terrorism.

4.5 Where can I get help if I have a technical problem?

Technical support is provided by Highfield. Visit their ACT help centre or email them at

5. Physical intervention training

Questions in this section:

5.1 Will there be any changes in the physical intervention module for the new door supervisor qualification?

There are minor updates, but the skills remain very similar.

5.2 Has the length of the physical intervention unit for the door supervisor qualification changed?

Yes, there is a slight increase due to the assessment being more rigorous. It will now take 13 hours.

5.3 Why has knowledge of the risks of physical intervention been included in the security guarding qualification?

The SIA wants to help security officers manage the risks they may face in a proportionate manner.

They have included knowledge of physical intervention and personal safety to provide security officers with information on practices to avoid if they ever have to intervene physically, or on other occasions where their personal safety may be at risk. This includes identifying situations that might compromise personal safety and implementing strategies like dynamic risk assessment.

The unit also covers the risks of inappropriate restraint such as positional asphyxia, which is in the door supervisor qualification.

5.4 When will the SIA provide more effective physical intervention training that matches ‘real life’ situations?

As a regulator, the SIA sets the minimum requirement. If an employer or venue identifies a need for further training following a risk assessment, then they should provide this training to their staff. The training is intended to give operatives safe skills to deal with the most common scenarios. It has been tested in coroners’ courts and is constantly reviewed by leading experts.

6. Close protection

Questions in this section:

6.1 When will the new close protection qualification be available?

The new training will be available from 1 April 2022.

6.2 Will existing close protection licence holders need top-up training when the new qualification is available?

Yes. The SIA has not yet agreed on the content and details.

6.3 Will there be any physical intervention content included in the new close protection qualification?

Yes. Physical intervention is included in the close protection qualification.

6.4 Are close protection operatives required to do both the door supervisor and close protection physical intervention units?

Yes. In order for licence integration to continue close protection operatives will be required to do both the existing physical intervention training for door supervisors and the new bespoke physical intervention for close protection operatives.

6.5 Will I still be able to work as a door supervisor or a security guard after the launch of the new close protection qualification?

Yes. If you have an active close protection licence you will still be able to work as a door supervisor or a security guard.

6.6 Will the new close protection qualification include terror-threat awareness training?

Yes. New terror-threat content has been added to the close protection qualification. This content has been developed with input from external agencies including the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure and the National Counter Terrorism Security Office.

6.7 What research did the SIA do in the development of the new close protection qualification?

The SIA carried out extensive research in 2018 with the private security industry. They also held two public consultations for all of the qualifications in 2018 and 2019, and a specific close protection consultation in 2020. In addition, the SIA has worked closely with experts in the field to develop these requirements.

6.8 Who were the expert stakeholders and public consultants involved in the re-development of the close protection physical intervention content?

The SIA established expert working groups to help develop the qualification. They comprised representative companies who were part of the Approved Contractor Scheme, training providers, awarding organisations and industry experts with expertise in close protection and physical intervention skills.

7. General

Questions in this section:

7.1 What is the awareness of vulnerable people training?

This is training content for security operatives on how to recognise vulnerable people and keep them safe. Vulnerable people can include:

  • people with a mental health issue
  • people with learning or physical disabilities
  • pregnant women
  • the elderly
  • children or under-age adults

The definition could also include someone who is acutely ill or under the influence of alcohol or drugs. There will be training about identifying behaviours that may be exhibited by sexual predators, as well as identifying indicators of abuse.

7.2 Will the new qualifications take disability into account?

Yes. Our guidance document ‘Working in the private security industry: a guide for disabled people’ is available from the Applying for an SIA licence: help and guidance page of our website.

Each awarding organisation and training provider will have their own ‘reasonable adjustment’ policy, which should be used where applicable.

7.3 I hold a door supervisor licence but I only operate as a security guard. Can I switch to a security guard licence?

From 1 October, if you hold a door supervisor licence you can choose one of the following options:

  • take the door supervisor top-up training and renew your door supervisor licence
  • take the security guard top-up training and switch to a security guard licence

In either case, you must have an Emergency First Aid at Work qualification, or equivalent, before can you take the top training.

The security guard top-up training is shorter and cheaper than the door supervisor top-up training. However, you should consider the day-to-day duties of the job that you do. If your job involves guarding licensed premises (such as a pub or a club) you will need to renew your door supervisor licence.

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