SIA Licensing – A Sting in the Tail?


SIA Licensed stewards are required to have undertaken prescribed training in order to conduct their duties. A new aspect of this training is known as “Physical Intervention” which deals with how to handle difficult physical confrontations in an appropriate and safe manner.

The Physical Intervention part of the SIA training course has been in place for since June 2010 but a number of SIA licence holders were issued their licence prior to this updated training going “live” and it has not been a mandatory requirement.

For more detail on this, see (for example) the information provided here, by leading security firm Securigroup.

Those without this training are now required to take the “new” part of the course by 4 February 2013.  If the training has not been completed by then my understanding is stewards caught out by this will be prohibited from carrying out their duties.

How does this link to Scottish licensed premises? Many premises have a condition under the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 which requires them to have SIA licensed stewards on the premises. This applies automatically to many premises open after 1am, such as nightclubs, but there are other premises who have a licence subject to a stewarding condition, perhaps as a result of adverse incidents and so on.

There is a growing concern that there will be backlog of SIA licence holders who have not undergone the new training and this may lead to a situation in early 2013 where they cannot undertake their job. This in turn means that security providers may struggle to fulfill their contracts with pubs, clubs and so on because they do not have enough properly licensed stewards. This could leave premises licence holders in breach of their stewarding conditions through no fault of their own.

The BII have raised considerable concerns about this issue, as reported here. The fear is that there will be a last minute rush and training providers will be unable to cope with the demand, leaving some SIA stewards out of work and potentially some premises in breach of their conditions.

I know that a number of reputable stewarding companies will be taking steps to deal with this already but there is a potential that those who have been using in-house SIA stewards may be unaware of all this and fall through the cracks.

Watch this space.


About Stephen McGowan

Leading Scottish licensing solicitor at TLT LLP.
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