Showing your SIA License. Who gets to see it, and when?

“Show me your license”. An all too familiar, (often annoying) demand when it is made by a customer you’ve somehow offended. If you’ve been in a public facing capacity for long enough, if you’ve been tasked with enforcing rules that aren’t always popular, chances are, you’ve heard this before.

It feels sometimes that in the mind of an upset member of the public – you are a public servant. Your SIA license advertises to the world that your employment is subject public permission. Armed only with the knowledge that the Security Industry Authority exists, and that has issued you a license to work within the industry, they’ve made the ultimate play, checkmate. Except, is it?

Now, in fairness – maybe they ask out of curiosity. Maybe they have a genuine grievance, maybe you deserve the scrutiny. Whatever the case may be – you should know what to do in this situation.

There are very good reasons for not wanting to share your license information with anyone you don’t have to. Sometimes, depending on where you work – you risk upsetting very nasty and motivated individuals and the consequences of giving them actionable personal information are not worth experiencing. A person with your license number alone will be able to find your full First & Last name on the SIA online license registry. If they are motivated, that means that might find you. If they find you via social media or other channels, it might not be to give you flowers. I have had unsavoury people threaten to, and indeed try and hurt me and my family. So, I take personal & information security very seriously, and I urge you to do so.

So, what are the rules?

**What happens if a member public asks to see my license?**
You can tell them that according Section 19 of the Private Security Industry Act 2001, if they wish to see your license they can call a police officer, who may ask and shall receive the details of your license as part of any investigation that they conduct. But if it is a customer service matter, and not a criminal matter – they would be better off making a complaint to the venue or security provider.

**Do I have to wear my license?**
Well, legislation you must wear your licence where it can be seen at all times when engaging in designated licensable activity unless: you have reported it lost or stolen, it is in our possession, or the work you are doing requires that you not be identifiable as a licensed operative – You do not have to wear your licence where it can be seen if the work you are doing requires that you not be identifiable as a licensed operative. (You must still carry your licence on you and be able to produce it on request.

**Do I have to show it in a particular way?**
According to a Freedom of Information request the SIA responded to in May of 2021 (FOI 0241): “wear the licence where the front can be seen at all times when engaging in designated licensable activity “

**Who then, must I show my license to?**
Police, SIA officers and those to whom the SIA has given authority under Section 19 of the Private Security Industry Act (typically, these will be licensing officers from local councils). If you don’t you could be guilty of an offence and liable for six months in prison or a potentially unlimited fine.

In short then, members of the public can ask to see the license, but you can say no. But you must have your license on display (unless that would prevent you from being able to do your job or it’s stolen/lost/with the SIA). They can call the police, who can get the license information and contact the SIA on the customers’ behalf if the matter requires it. If they were to try and photograph it without permission, you can walk away or – if it’s private property, suggest that photographing staff without consent is not acceptable and ask them to leave.

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