Call for licensing

09 April 2019

The Security Event 2019: Call for licensing of CCTV and security installation companies

Security installation and integration companies should be required by law to be licensed by a regulatory body, according to keynote panel speakers at The Security Event 2019 at the NEC, Birmingham.

A supportive audience at the panel discussion ‘A guide for growth: Trends impacting security installers & integrators’, heard Anthony King of Square One Systems, in conversation with James Oliver of Code Security Systems and chair Professor Martin Gill, director of Perpetuity Research, make the call for greater regulatory oversight of the technical security industry.

“I don’t believe we are regulated or licensed enough as industry,” King said. “You can be a window cleaner one day and a CCTV installer the next. That’s not the same in the manned guarding business. The Security Industry Authority has made it unlawful to operate a guarding company without a licence, and individual guards need to be licensed as well.

“It should be the same for the technical security industry: it should be unlawful not to be licensed to install and operate security systems. That’s the only way for the public to differentiate between the companies doing good work and those operating without that integrity.”

Oliver said a move towards greater regulation should be driven by industry organisations such as the British Security Industry Association (BSIA), National Security Inspectorate (NSI), and the Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board (SSAIB).

“The industry has historically resisted regulation,” King said. “That needs to change.”

The call for greater regulation came as part of a wider discussion focusing on the public perception of security installers and integrators and the barriers to success for those companies. The discussion was prompted by research commissioned by organisers of The Security Event.

A lively debate around those issues saw Oliver identify a lack of skilled labour and training as a crucial element contributing to a widening skills gap as companies struggle to maintain pace with technology developments.

He also suggested that while downward price pressure from buyers was driving some less scrupulous companies to cut corners, another factor is the very nature of the modern workload.

“Security customers, like the rest of us, have got used to things happening quickly,” Oliver said. “We download music and films immediately, and the expectation a lot of the time now is that they want systems installed immediately, with no waiting expected. That creates its own problems, when everyone is focused on speed over quality.”

Oliver and King also said the technical security industry needed to become more adept at compiling and sharing data on positive alarms, not just minimising false alarms.