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Guarding Goals: How to get into private security

There are lots of things that attract people to a career in private security. Some people feel a natural inclination towards protecting others; some are looking for a way to apply their physical fitness to something worthwhile; some might find the hours suit their timetable; and others may be looking for something that will help them get into shape.

What makes a great guard?

There are many people who want to get into private security. Some of them will be ideally suited to the role, but most aren’t. Security guarding is by no means an easy job. Instead it requires a unique set of skills: the ability to think quickly under pressure and to sustain long periods of concentration; the ability to respond speedily and apply the training received; the physical stamina to stand for long periods at a time; and an assertive personality are just some of the skills and character traits you will need.

When coupled with the idea that there is demand for security services 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, many guards must be happy to work unsociable hours, often sacrificing week ends and Bank Holidays.

Still sounds like your kind of job? If you are interested but feel you are not quite ready for private security work now, there are things you can do to prepare yourself. Here’s some ideas on how to get started:

Security guard vacancy

Relevant Experience

If you have a military or policing background, you will go straight to the front of the queue when private security firms are looking to hire new recruits. There is no other job or qualification that will carry the same weight as these on your CV.

You don’t need to have experience in these jobs in order to get a job in private security - but it will definitely help - and it will open up doors that would otherwise be closed to you.

Furthermore, the more experience you have in high pressure roles such as policing or in the army, the greater the likelihood of working in higher-paid, managerial or supervisory roles.

Shape Up

If you want to be taken seriously as a private security guard, you will need to be in good physical shape. If there is any doubt about your ability to effectively protect your clients and their property, no one is going to hire you.

You don’t need to be an Olympic athlete, but you do need to be fitter than average. Depending on the nature of the security work that you end up doing, your physical fitness could prove to be essential to your personal safety, as well as that of your clients.

Pass a Criminal Background Check

You don’t necessarily need to have a clean criminal record in order to work in private security, but you will need to disclose any criminal convictions you have. Usually, employers are only interested in the last 10 years, but certain types of conviction will exclude you from the profession entirely.

Some locations, for example places with vulnerable groups of people and/or children, will require an Enhanced DBS (Disclosure Barring Service, or background check).

Obtain an SIA License

Under UK law, it is often up to individual security officers to obtain their licence to work; their employers are not legally responsible for the training. Employers are obligated to ensure that they only use licenced staff and they must make sure that you have an up-to-date SIA (Security Industry Authority) licence before they employ you. You will need to spend £220 to apply for a three-year licence.

This is non-refundable so make sure that you meet the necessary criteria beforehand. You can find all the necessary information on the SIA website. Some companies, such as 1st Class Protection, will sponsor your licence. They will pay for your training and give you a job at the end of it.

Furthermore, if you choose to train with a firm such as 1st Class Protection, they will go far beyond the legal requirements set by the SIA and take you through intensive self-defence classes, recognising the importance of training staff to be the best in the industry.

If you believe you have the skills required and would like to work for one of the best security companies in London, just send your CV to or apply through the website:

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