Public safety a key focus at the SIA National Conference 2023


The Security Industry Authority (SIA) National Conference was held on 21 September 2023 at Novotel London West, with the private security industry regulator marked 20 years since it was established under the Private Security Industry Act 2001.

The theme was focused on ‘20 years of the Private Security Industry Act: building, learning, and adapting to new challenges in supporting public safety’.

The all-day event provided an opportunity for stakeholders, representatives from the SIA’s partner organisations, security companies, security operatives and the SIA to review and discuss progress on matters concerning public safety and the regulation of private security industry in the UK.

Some of the key themes of the conference included: raising standards of professionalism and training; protecting the public from risks such as terrorism; equality, diversity and inclusion in the industry.

The benefits of working in collaboration to raise standards in public protection remained high on the agenda. The conference was compered by Security Circle Podcast host Yolanda Hamblen, who introduced the conference speakers to an audience of around 200 delegates from across the UK.

Plenary presentations from the SIA focused on how the industry can share its views on proposals for a new business approval scheme – which will replace the existing Approved Contractor Scheme (ACS) first launched in 2006 – and how public protection is everyone’s business. Paul Fullwood, the SIA’s Director of Inspections and Enforcement, shared how the SIA will make better use of data and technology to be more proactive and visible across the UK.

In the penultimate plenary, SIA Chief Executive Michelle Russell was joined by Debbie Bartlett, Deputy Director Protect and Prepare at the Home Office and Heather Arrowsmith-Tosley, Head of Capability Development for the National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO) to discuss the Protect Duty (Martyn’s Law).

The industry was encouraged to embrace the Duty when it becomes law and take advantage of free ACT (Action Counters Terrorism) e-learning from ProtectUK. Information was also shared on the early development of a qualification in assessing counter-terrorism risks and how the Competent Persons Scheme will work alongside the Duty.

In an opening video address, Sarah Dines MP, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Minister for Safeguarding), said: “Thanks to SIA regulation and efforts of dedicated industry leaders, the security landscape has been transformed over the last two decades.

“I want to thank the SIA and the industry for the vital role you are both playing in supporting the government’s ongoing work to tackle violence against women and girls and protecting members of the public in vulnerable situations.”

Heather Baily, Chair of the SIA, added: “I thank the Home Office and other partners for their input into making the SIA National Conference 2023 an informative and engaging event for all involved. The SIA is absolutely committed to the work we do within the legislative framework of the Private Security Industry Act.”

Finally, Michelle Russell said: “I thank everyone who participated in the conference, submitted questions and took part in discussions. Protecting the public is the golden thread at the heart of everything the SIA has done over the past 20 years and will continue to do in the future.

“There are challenges ahead as well as opportunities. It was clear from the energy and commitment of those at the conference that the private security industry stands with us in seeking to improve standards to support public safety.”


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