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BSIA launches manifesto for next government

With just two days to go before the UK general election, the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) has launched a new manifesto that outlines the five key policy areas it wishes to see addressed by the next government.

In a statement issued on Friday (May 1st), the organisation said that with the most difficult-to-predict election in over four decades on the cards, the time has come for it to "firmly put its stake into the ground" in an effort to ensure that incoming policymakers are aware of the issues facing the industry - as well as its value to the country as a whole.

"With a new government comes a whole new set of political contacts for the association," explained James Kennedy, the chief executive of the BSIA. "As such, educating new MPs on the value of the private security industry is a crucial first step to take in forging new relationships."

BSIA launches manifesto for next government

The BSIA represents 70 per cent of an industry worth more than £6 billion to the UK economy per annum, according to Mr Kennedy, and its active political engagement programme has to date seen it host a number of cross-party parliamentary roundtable meetings, as well as attend the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat party conferences.

With the private security industry generating around 0.5 per cent of the UK's gross domestic product and employing 365,000 Britons across more than one in three constituencies, the association drove home the importance of its role in the political process.

Mr Kennedy also drew attention to the possibility of the government using private security contractors to reduce pressure on police: "The industry is key to the success of reforms across the public sector and private security contracts are already delivering significant cost and efficiency savings to police forces across the country," he commented.

The five key 'asks' outlined in the BSIA manifesto, which are designed to drive awareness of the private security industry's value, as well as improve standards and efficiency internally, are as follows:

- A commitment to lighter-touch regulation. This would include a transition to a business licensing model, away from the individual security guard licensing that recently caused controversy when BBC researchers were able to illicitly obtain Security Industry Authority cards in exchange for cash.

- A renewed effort to minimise ticketing on cash-in-transit vehicles, reducing the risk of attacks on couriers unable to park close to their drop-off points.

- Greater recognition of the value of police and private sector partnerships, such as the use of security guards to manage police cordons, conduct area searches and transport offenders.

- An increase in funding for the export of security services, helping the industry to maintain its position on the global stage.

- The expansion of the Surveillance Camera Commissioner's Code of Practice to include privately-owned systems.

With the private security industry continuously evolving, it is critical that the BSIA and government work together "to ensure the UK's approach to security remains effective against emerging and developing threats", the manifesto read.

"As such, there are a number of key issues [to address] ... in order for the private security industry to fulfil its potential in playing its part in protecting the UK."


Posted by Andrew Miller

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