Crown Security is a Security Industry Authority-Approved Contractor

The private security industry has always had to battle against a poor reputation, as the existence of some unscrupulous firms has led to frequent negative press coverage.


That’s why in 2006 the Security Industry Authority (SIA) introduced its own quality standard called ACS (Approved Contractor Scheme), which provides a recognised hallmark of quality within the private security industry. Crown Security are delighted to once again have achieved this standard after our annual audit.

When it comes to protecting your buildings, your staff, and members of the public, you can’t put a price on security – or on the peace of mind that comes from knowing you’ve got the best people in the industry working for you. Although there are many commercial benefits to be gained by achieving the ACS, its main purpose is to “protect the public and maintain and improve standards in the private security industry.”

What is SIA ACS Certification?

The SIA ‘Security Industry Authority’ is a government organisation which regulates the security industry and offers an ACS or ‘Approved Contractor Scheme’, which is a UK-recognised hallmark to show the company is operating in an ethical fashion and is following industry codes of practice. It is designed by members of the security industry and helps organisations to demonstrate their competence, training, and commitment to the continuous improvement of their operations.

To gain accreditation we must meet 89 different performance indicators which are based upon widely recognised business improvement models (including ISO9001:2000 and the European Foundation for Quality Management Excellence Model). The scheme also draws upon Investors in People and includes relevant British Standards. As such, the ACS stands out as having especially comprehensive good practice criteria.

The benefits of using an approved contractor:

Choosing a security provider who has approved contractor status can be taken as the minimum level of proof of their commitment to quality, customer service and the licensing of staff members. It also offers assurance that every private security operative supplied by the company will be working within the law. Additional benefits include:

• Best Practice and Continuity of Quality

The employment practices of an approved contractor have been extensively assessed in respect to quality standards and following industry methods of best practice.

• Continuity of Service

Any security provider, whether they are an approved contractor or not, should only deploy staff who hold a valid and relevant SIA licence. To do otherwise would be a criminal offence. (The exception is that we can give special dispensation to deploy staff who have completed their training and are waiting for their SIA licence application to be processed.)

• Clear Customer Focus and Increased Flexibility

You can expect effective and customer-focused procedures to be in place, to help overcome any issues arising in service delivery. The ACS Standard encourages service customisation, rather than ‘off-the-shelf’ packages. This helps ensure that our services are closely tailored to the precise requirements of a business.

• The Extended Police Family

The status of the ACS is recognised by the police and offers the potential for enhanced working relationships. The aim is to provide practical benefits through ‘joined-up’ police, business and community initiatives.

SIA ACS Requirements

The SIA state that before awarding a company ‘Approved Contractor’ status they must be satisfied that “…the company seeking approval must be a fit and proper organisation, and the company directors must be fit and proper persons” and “supplying a security service for over 12 months with a contract and minimum of 2 staff on PAYE.”

All directors of the company obtain an SIA licence before the ACS process can be started. This is a legal requirement.

All staff that carry out a security function must by law hold a valid licence which covers the duties they are performing. Some licences can cover more than 1 duty, e.g. a door supervision licence will allow a member of staff to carry out security guarding duties, but all licences must be checked at least monthly and detailed records kept.

An SIA Approved Contractor can demonstrate that:

  • it has processes in place to monitor and manage service delivery to both customers and consumers
  • it trains and develops its people to deliver customer satisfaction and added value, to an agreed standard
  • the leaders develop and implement an effective management system that continually improves the organisation and its performance
  • it measures and improves performance against key customer and consumer indicators
  • it measures and improves performance against key indicators for the way in which it supports the community and the environment in which it operates
  • it meets 84 further performance requirements and is open to scrutiny by the SIA at all times

The Process of SIA ACS

There is a rigorous approval procedure and a review of all paperwork including insurance certificates, company registration documents, licence numbers etc., as well as a self-assessment to show we have addressed all the elements of the scheme.

The SIA then carry out a visit to the premises and test the company against the SIA ACS requirements to ensure compliance, also talking to some of the staff and customers to confirm that they can validate that the organisation is a responsible one.

There are approximately 800 private security companies that hold approval. The standard is only available to organisations that provide licensable security services as defined in the Private Security Act 2001.

The licensable activities cover:

  • Cash and valuables in transit
  • Close protection
  • Door supervision
  • Key holding
  • Public space surveillance (CCTV)
  • Security guarding

I want to become a security guard. What do I need to consider when it comes to SIA individual licensing?

SIA licensing ensures that private security operatives are ‘fit and proper’ persons who have been properly trained and are qualified to do their job. All security officers working in the UK must be SIA licensed by law. If you wish to apply for a job with Crown Security, take a look at our Careers page, or if you are looking for training you can find more information here.

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