The Security Industry Authority (SIA) has released new research on public trust and confidence in the private security industry, carried out by BMG Research, which says six out of ten adults in the UK have trust in private security professionals.
This is the first research of its kind commissioned by the UK’s private security industry regulator.
It was carried out in two waves across two years from 2022 to 2023 to see whether public perceptions changed.
A survey of a nationally representative sample of 2,600 UK adults in 2022 and 2023, revealed that 6 in 10 people agree that they trust security professionals.
A similar proportion were also confident that they do their duties competently and effectively and act with integrity.
Those with a recent positive personal experience were more likely to have greater trust and confidence overall.
In addition, seven in ten survey respondents agreed that security professionals are necessary to maintain order and improve public safety.
Most felt safer due to a private security presence in various settings such as music concerts, sporting events, banks, hospitals, nighttime economy venues and retail premises.
Survey respondents and focus group participants were also asked about their understanding of regulation and perceptions of careers in private security.
Whilst 70% agreed that people can be proud of working in the private security industry, most did not see it as a first-choice career.
“Public protection through effective regulation is the golden thread at the heart of what the SIA does,” said Michelle Russell, Chief Executive of the Security Industry Authority.
“That’s why it is important for us to understand public views about individual licence holders, the wider industry and us as a regulator.
“We are encouraged that the overall survey results demonstrate that most people have trust and confidence in private security operatives and agree they do important work.
“There is more that can be done, by both the SIA as a regulator and the industry as employers and deployers of security, to raise awareness of how the licensing regime and the work of private security protects the public.
“The overall stability of the findings across the two years indicate public views are slow-moving, so changing perceptions will likely take time.
“We are using the findings of this research to develop our strategic planning and stakeholder engagement activity and to inform our support for industry-led initiatives.
“We intend to continue to measure and monitor the effect this has on public perceptions of private security over time.”