The private security industry in Ireland was not regulated until the Irish Government completed two reviews of the industry in 1997 and 1999. Before the regulations were introduced, security companies that wanted to stand out from other security providers could prove their high operating standards by attaining ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation) certification. However; this was not common practice.
The Private Security Industry Bill was introduced in January 2001 and was enacted in 2004. It led to the establishment of the Private Security Authority (PSA) in October 2005. The PSA is responsible for licensing and regulating the private security industry in Ireland. Since November 2006 any company whose primary source of business is providing security services must obtain a licence from the PSA. From 1st April 2007, all individuals providing a paid security service in Door Security or Manned Guarding must hold an individual licence.
At first the individual licences were valid for two years, but this has recently changed to three years. There is no further training required to renew the individual licence, however, there is a fee to renew the licence that is similar to the fee for a new licence.
To obtain a licence, individuals must have a recognised qualification. This ensures that people working in the industry have been trained to a high standard. In addition, all licence applicants are vetted by An Garda Síochána before a licence is issued. Applicants who have lived outside of Ireland for a period of six months or more are required to provide the PSA with a criminal record certificate from that jurisdiction.
Licensing is sector specific, meaning that not all types of security services require a licence. Presently, the events sector is not licensed, though this is likely to change soon. However, if alcohol is sold at an event then security personnel must have a DSP (Door Security Personnel) licence for the area of that event that is licensed to sell alcohol. Irish legislation states that all PSA licensed door supervisors and security guards must wear identity badges (their licence) since the 1st September 2009. These must be displayed as outlined in the PSA regulations, see the PSA website for further information (https://www.psa.gov.ie/) These new regulations bring into effect Section 30 of the Private Security Services Act 2004. See our full list of security courses in Dublin.
Licence holders can legally be employed in two ways:
1. By obtaining a licence card issued by the PSA with their licence; or
2. By obtaining a Section 22 letter from the PSA. This letter allows you to work legally as a Security Guard whilst your licence is being processed. The only way to obtain this is to submit a letter from a licensed security contractor confirming that you have been offered employment pending receipt of your licence or Section 22 letter. This letter eliminates the waiting time for your licence, but you are only allowed to work for that specific employer while your full licence is being processed.
Currently, the PSA will only issue Section 22 letters if your employer is a registered security contractor. Previously a letter from any employer (such as a retailer or publican) would have been accepted. You are not required to display your Section 22 letter while working, but you must have the letter on your person should you be required to identify yourself. Licence holders who fail to wear the required identity badge can have their licence suspended or cancelled, and could face prosecution with fines of up to €3,000 or imprisonment for up to 12 months, or both. Individuals who have their licence suspended or cancelled cannot be employed as a Door Supervisor or Security Guard. PSA inspectors regularly visit premises to check that all individuals are licensed.
PSA inspectors have the same rights of access as An Garda Síochána, however they are normally accompanied by a member of An Garda Síochána, a Revenue official or other such enforcement agencies.