The Security Industry Authority (SIA) has introduced the licensing of guards and the accreditation of security service suppliers.
The ethos behind the measure is the private security industry's need to keep up with the rising demand for security guards by improving standards and performance.
Individual licensing arrangements will begin this month, and will be compulsory from March 2006. As well as undergoing identity and criminality checks, front line security staff will also need to provide evidence of their skills and achievement of SIA-accredited qualifications.
The licensing of a company's security staff will be one of the conditions of achieving accredited status. The SIA is now working with industry to finalise the standards for accreditation, with a view to accepting applications from autumn 2005.