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Security officers or guards are responsible for protecting people and property from theft, illegal activity and harm. To do this effectively, security officers must have physical strength, patience, strong powers of observation and the ability to make decisions quickly. Additionally, they must have a keen sense of curiosity and demonstrable nerve since, ultimately, it’s up to them to spot suspicious activity and deter or detain anyone with a criminal agenda.

Entry Requirements

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To become a security guard, you’ll need to be aged 18 or above, able to pass identity and criminal record checks and hold a Security Industry Authority (SIA) licence. An SIA licence confirms that you are a “fit and proper” person capable of fulfilling a security role, and is usually awarded within 25 working days of applying.

If you have a criminal record, you’re not automatically disqualified from security guard work. The SIA is responsible for deciding whether an offence should prohibit someone from entering the industry. To make its decision, the SIA assesses:


  1. Whether your offences are relevant to security industry work
  2. The actual sentence or disposal given to you for your offence
  3. And how recently the offence took place

You can use the SIA’s free criminal record indicator to get a good idea of whether you’ll pass the criminality criteria.


Skills Required

Throughout their career, security officers, guards and staff often find themselves in a wide range of roles.

Skills required for becoming a security officer






Some of these security roles include:

  1. Manned guarding – guarding premises, property and people against criminal activity and harm.
  2. Cash and Valuables in Transit – securely transporting property and protecting it from damage or theft.
  3. Close Protection (Bodyguarding) – protecting one or more individuals from assault, crime and injury.
  4. Airport Security – searching aircraft, passengers and luggage, and guarding airport boundaries.
  5. And Door Supervision – ensuring the safety and security of customers and staff in a licensed premise or public event.


Though these security roles are quite different, they each require some key transferable skills:

  1. The ability to write short reports and follow written instructions
  2. The confidence to challenge people when required
  3. The ability to use initiative and make quick decisions
  4. The ability to learn how to use technical equipment such as CCTV and baggage scanning machines
  5. A reasonable level of fitness

Additionally, holding a driver’s licence will make you a more desirable candidate and open you to more types of positions in different locations.


Career Path and Progression

Career path and progression

With experience, security guards can advance to senior or chief security officer positions, and then to supervisory roles. With further qualifications, you could go into security management or training, or even set up your own security company.

Studies show that the private security industry in the UK is developing rapidly, with 16 percent growth forecast over the next 5 years. This means that the sector will continue to be a busy and dynamic, offering plenty of exciting roles and opportunities.


Churchill Security is a leading national provider of SIA licensed security guards and a member of the ACS Pacesetters – which represents the top 15 percent of ACS approved contractors. We are always on the lookout for SIA licensed, experienced and motivated security guards, controllers and supervisors. If you think you have what it takes, visit our jobs page to see the roles we’re currently hiring for.

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John Melling is a Director for Churchill Security Ltd. John is a highly motivated, determined and decisive security industry professional. Drawing on his extensive experience gained within the security industry whilst working on the coalface John has operated at all levels within the industry. He has a proven track record for motivating and leading high performance teams and has helped mentor and develop many people at Churchill who now hold key or senior positions within the business. John is committed to delivering only the finest services, exercising compelling leadership, maintaining good internal morale and striving to resolve any challenges efficiently and effectively.