A new Code of Practice to help companies carry out safe and legal security searches has been published by the British Security Industry Association (BSIA), the trade body representing the UK’s private security industry.

Intended for use on a voluntary basis, the Code aims to assist businesses in developing their own security procedures and guidelines relating to ‘frequent’ searches, including, for example, searching property and persons, preventing entry into a restricted area, or locating prohibited or dangerous items. It is also applicable to companies offering search services to customers, or businesses that directly employ ‘in-house’ searchers.

The Code was developed by the Police and Public Services Section of the BSIA, which includes member companies dedicated to providing support and back-office functions to police and public sector organisations across the UK.

Chairman of the Police and Public Services Section, Dirk Wilson of Sector Security Services Ltd, presented the Code of Practice in a seminar at leading security show, IFSEC International, in June. Commenting on the launch of the Code, Wilson said: “The idea behind having a standard to reduce risk to personnel who search, and to ensure those who search have a real idea that the task is being carried out well and under a set of guidelines both promotes professionalism and confidence. This code is a positive step forward and it is hoped that with further refinement it will be one of the most used standards within the industry which has a direct impact on safety and confidence for us all.”

Paul Phillips, Technical Manager at the BSIA, adds: “This Code of Practice will prove invaluable to all individuals and companies responsible for the execution of searches. A major consideration of the publication was to make sure that the searcher and their company avoid situations that could potentially compromise the integrity of their search, while ensuring that respect for the person being searched is maintained throughout. Of course, every search is different, although following the advice in the Code will help to ensure that the search methods used are proportionate to each situation.”