According to a recent Home Office report, the government is considering more stringent DBS checking for door staff, more commonly referred to as “bouncers.” Security staff who work on the doors of pubs, clubs and as security officers at large events need to be accredited by the SIA, or Security Industry Authority. In order to qualify for a SIA licence, workers must complete approved training, which can vary depending on the sort of work they are planning on doing. Part of the SIA licensing process is a standard DBS check, and the proposal is to change this requirement to ask for an enhanced DBS check instead. Although this more detailed checking will give employers more information about the background of their workers, employees are concerned that the additional costs of applying for an enhanced DBS check will be passed on to them, at a time when we’re all feeling the pinch caused by the cost of living crisis.


Why Is an Enhanced DBS Check Needed?

A standard DBS check, which is required for the security industry at present, looks at someone’s current convictions and cautions, as well as any convictions and cautions which are spent, and disregarded in most other situations. The Home Office are considering separating out door staff as another category from other roles such as CCTV operators or cash in transit drivers, as door staff are more likely to encounter members of the public, both children and adults, in their work. The Home Office are concerned about the potential safeguarding risk for members of the public if the most detailed level of check is not needed for bouncers and other security staff who work in close protection, usually for high profile or high net worth individuals. There is also the concern that many door staff have regular contact with people who are vulnerable, either because they are under 18, or because they have had a considerable amount to drink.

An enhanced DBS check has an extra layer of checking on top of looking at all previous police records. An enhanced check will also consider police intelligence, and other information such as arrests or charges which have not led to conviction. Looking at these records should help the DBS weed out people who have been repeatedly arrested or charged with violent or sexual offences, but who have never been convicted.


Getting a SIA Licence or Enhanced DBS Check with a Criminal Record

One of the main concerns among people who are faced with applying for detailed checks is that a crime or caution in their distant past will bar them from taking up a job. This concern is usually unfounded, as the system has been devised to only look for patterns of potential offending, to weed out the riskiest of individuals who have managed to avoid prosecution. A shoplifting charge from decades ago, or a caution for fighting or graffiti as a teenager is not going to stop someone from getting SIA licence if that is the career they wish to pursue.