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BBC sting 'underlines importance of reputable security training'

Representatives of the UK security industry have spoken out after a BBC sting found evidence of malpractice at two London-based training centres.

According to the Training Providers Section of the British Security Industry Association (BSIA), the Inside Out programme - which aired on March 23rd - should be interpreted as a warning to potential buyers to work with only the most reputable members of the trade.

In the documentary, undercover researchers approached two colleges and enquired about training for a Security Industry Authority (SIA) card - a licence that all security professionals in the UK must pass exams in order to acquire.

Both training centres offered to sit or forge their exams in exchange for cash, describing this as a 'fast-track' option to complete the normal 140-hour course.

Having acquired their fraudulent SIA cards, the BBC researchers went on to investigate their employability in the security industry.

One of the journalists was made a job offer as a guard at a major power station, with his licence exempting him from all but the most minimal background checks.

He later passed an entry exam to guard Canary Wharf, described by the BBC as a "high-profile potential terror target", and was invited to interview for the position.

Industry Qualifications, the examining board that awarded the two colleges' fast-tracked licences, told the BBC that it planned to "take immediate action" in light of the sting.

"Our first concern will be to withdraw certification from candidates where doubts exist and work with the affected students to undertake re-assessment quickly," it added.

For its part, the BSIA said the investigation underlined the importance of choosing a reputable training provider that "delivers high-quality training and adheres to appropriate Codes of Conduct and British Standards".

It pointed out that the suppliers who comprise its Training Providers Section are subject to stringent background checks and vetting, as well as required to demonstrate compliance with a code of conduct of their own design.

Anthony Rabbitt, the chairman of the section, commented: "The BSIA is committed to sustaining high standards in performance and training in the security industry, and totally endorses the stance adopted by the BBC in this programme."

The news comes soon after the SIA announced plans to modernise its licensing processes, making it possible for security professionals and their employers to manage licence applications via a revamped SIA website.

It is hoped that the changes will drive stronger communication and collaboration between training providers, trainees and licence holders, as well as the businesses who buy and sell manned security services.

Introduced in 2003, the SIA's licencing infrastructure has to date certified more than 1.25 million individuals to provide both front line and non-front line security services in the UK.

 

Posted by Andrew Miller

Image courtesy of Thinkstock

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