A big problem for contractors hiring CCTV operators / guards is that the bloody SIA can take months to process license applications.
They also charge £250 for a card that pretty much proves you've undergone a standard CRB check (something that cost's about £40, is recognised by everyone and takes a couple of weeks).
Hiring my guards (SIA compliant training + some real training + wages paid while they're in these classes) currently costs me over £2500, excluding license. That's just to guard private property; public area surveillance requires more junk training and another license.
Now, how the hell can I hire someone, pay for SIA training and ask them to wait ages until the SIA checks to come through, before even starting the rest of the training or even showing them where they’ll work? What if they find another job, fail to clear, or change their mind and walk off the job after one night? A few cases like that in a year and I'd be finished.
This was not for the public (and does very little for them), this was pushed for by the big security companies to remove the smaller operators. The fact that 'in-house' security staff don't need checks is quite telling, as they usually work on sites that contract security can't poach anyway.
I've been working in the industry for fourteen years, have a great reputation and make the big providers look like shit. We were still nervous every time the police turned up as we awaited the checks (six months) when they first started, regardless of our CRB's, training and experience.
Compared to what's available, the SIA required training is a waste of time and money aimed at the lowest possible denominator, anything else would have killed half the industry, something the police could not have stood for. The teachers will not let you fail, and in many cases tell you what will be asked in the exam. One guy in my class couldn't read so they just told him which boxes to tick for a pass.
I've had retired armed forces and prison service guys pack in rather than sit in a class full of monkeys.
Pulling an incompetent watchdog authority out of your arse and making an entire industry send you money; why didn't I think of that?