21-23 Aug 2024
ICC, Sydney

Wouldn’t It Be Nice

Jan 5, 2018

When approaching private security from a national perspective, security licensing and regulation in Australia is a complex issue. The compliance requirements of jurisdictional licensing and regulation curtails the flexibility needed in today’s modern business world to enable security organisations to respond to client security and safety needs.

The security industry does not object to the sovereign rights of each State or Territory in the management of their jurisdictional boundaries or responsibilities, however, crime and in particular terrorism knows no such boundaries.  A client with a head office in one State, with offices or operations in another State or Territory, is not able to use their local trusted licensed security provider to facilitate or even manage their security in other jurisdictions unless the security provider is suitably licensed in those other jurisdictions.  Naturally with our jurisdictional complexities there are anomalies and if you wanted to install a security system, even the most highly sophisticated security system, in either Tasmania or Northern Territory, no business or individual would be required to hold a security licence or undergo any probity or background checks.

Wishing for a national licensing scheme

A national licensing scheme has been at the top of the wish list of the security industry for as long as we all can remember.  We do have a national mutual recognition process for security personnel who hold an individual licence in one jurisdiction and wish to work in another jurisdiction, however that requires a personal application and full licence fee for each jurisdiction in which the individual wishes to work.  This process has at times been abused considering some jurisdictional variations in training requirements or the visa / immigration status of the applicant.  A mutual recognition process does not apply to a business in Australia and where a security business wishes to operate in multiple jurisdictions, a separate application and fee is required for each jurisdiction.  Even if we were not to consider the cost to a business of the application; the compliance requirements and the time for business applications to be processed is a barrier to business in meeting client and operational demands within the security industry.

With the heightened security awareness at home and abroad, the public deserves a national uniform and consistent approach for the licensing and operation of the private security industry.

Peak security industry body recommends a national approach

The Australian Security Industry Association Limited (ASIAL), the national peak security industry body, continues to encourage governments to implement uniform and consistent strategies for security licensing for individuals and business.  ASIAL has recommended a national approach for entry level training for security guards and crowd controllers, and has been encouraged by the jurisdictional support for the recommendation however that needs to articulate into a licence that is nationally accepted and one that can move past jurisdictional boundaries.

To achieve a national uniform approach, with cross border work possibilities, whilst maintaining jurisdictional authority, governments and regulators need to ensure the following:

  • a standardised approach for probity, individuals and business
  • the same eligibility criteria with regards to visa and immigration status
  • uniform training requirements for individuals
  • uniform probity and compliance requirements for business operators

Although some jurisdiction similarities exist, if the above four points were nationally consistent, we could have a ‘home base’ licensing regime and a cost effective administrative application and process, providing the recognition and registration of individuals and businesses, and the ability to work in multiple jurisdictions.

In support of the national security strategies, the private security industry is a significant stakeholder and the public deserve a position of national support.

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Story credit: Australian Security Association Limited (ASIAL)

This article was written by Peter Johnson, Compliance & Regulatory Affairs at Australian Security Industry Association Ltd (ASIAL), Lead Industry Partner for the Security Exhibition & Conference.

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