How the different security roles vary.

What are their responsibilities?

Security Officer (SO) responsibilities

A Security Officer patrols, secures, and monitors properties; sometimes ensuring the safety of customers, the public and staff who use the property. Security Officers do not always deal with people as they sometimes work at empty properties, protecting against potential vandalism or unauthorised encampments.

A Security Officer’s work can vary across retail, decommissioned properties, and any other unlicensed businesses. If a Security Officer was needed to guard a licensed premises, they would need their additional Door Supervisor license, as their initial training does not cover the knowledge and skills required.

Door Supervisor (DS) responsibilities

A Door Supervisor protects people inside a premises by screening those wanting to enter. These premises are licensed to sell alcohol, so a Security Officer cannot do this role on their Security Officer license. Sites can include pubs, clubs, events, and plenty more. Besides this, there are many similarities with a Security Officer, such as how both are responsible for deterring crime and ensuring the safety of those inside the premises.

As a Door Supervisor has similar responsibilities to a Security Officer, they can become a Security Officer without additional training.

Close Protection Officer (CPO) responsibilities

Close Protection Officers (CPOs) have less in common as they carry out more specialist work, providing personal protection to a particular individual rather than property or people.  The individual needing protection is likely to be a public figure or VIP. CPOs provide bodyguarding during high profile events where the individual is at most risk, whether this is a protest or a large, organised event, and so CPOs must be trained to deal with any threat level, from activists to the threat of terrorists. Close Protection work tends to involve more mobility than other roles, as they protect an individual on the move.

Despite the differences in this role, they still must deter crime from a person or area, similar to Security Officers and Door supervisors.

What is their training?

All licenses cost £190 no matter the role, it is the training courses that differ in length and price. These variables will depend on the level of responsibility, and the skill needed to carry out the role. Due to this, CP courses tend to be the most expensive and SO courses are the cheapest.

Door Supervisor Training

A Door Supervisor license can take from 44 hours to complete. A door supervisor course starts from around £239.99 but will vary with provider. The course includes physical intervention, drug awareness and alcohol licensing. These are some of the skills that set Door Supervisors and Security Officers apart.

If you hold a non-frontline license and get involved in another area of non-frontline licensable activity, then you are not required to get another license, unlike many of those with a front-line one who changes areas.

Security Officer Training

To earn your Security Officer license can take from 30 hours to complete. The license is beneficial if you need the work across a wider range of premises; Door Supervisors mainly work with businesses that sell alcohol. A security guard course starts from around £179.99 but will vary with provider.

Close Protection Officer Training

A Close Protection license can take from 139.5 hours to train for, as there is a higher level of responsibility involved in this role. Despite this, it still costs the same as the SO and DS license. Only those with a Close Protection license can carry out these specialised duties.

Courses linked to the close protection role can cost significantly more than courses for SO and DS roles. A close protection course starts from around £1200 but will vary with provider. Many choose to take additional courses in evasive/convoy driving, firearms training, unarmed combat training or anti ambush training; to enhance their CP license.

Other training information

From Oct 2021 the Security Industry Authority has specified all SO and DS must take “top-up training”. This aims to develop all officer skills with additional knowledge, including first aid and counter-terrorism awareness training. This supports improvements in industry standards and creates consistency across all workforces. The training must be renewed annually for licenses to be re-issued.

Other licenses

As well as the 3 licenses discussed, there are more licenses that can be completed to expand skillsets. One example is a CCTV license, permitting employees to work in control rooms where footage from offices, shops or public places is shown. Door supervisors are licensed to carry out this role without getting a new license. The price of getting licensed is £190 like the other 3 roles; however, there may be discounts available if an SIA license is already held.


Door Supervisor 

  • Maintain order in premises that are licensed to sell alcohol
  • Can become a Security Officer with their current license
  • Screen people to keep those inside a premises safe – based on age & sobriety for safety
  • Licenses require 44+ hours of training
  • Licenses cost £190; courses cost £239.99
  • Requires top-up training from £99

Security Officer

  • Patrol, secure and monitor properties
  • Ensure the safety of service users, staff, and the general public
  • Cannot work in premises licensed to sell alcohol
  • Licenses require 30+ hours of training
  • Licenses cost £190; courses cost £179.99
  • Requires top-up training from £99

Close Protection Officer

  • Provide personal protection to a VIP
  • Only those with a CP license can do this role
  • Work during high profile events
  • More demanding role
  • Licenses require 139.5+ hours of training
  • Licenses cost £190; courses cost £1200

If you’re reviewing your security services and require additional officers in your team, feel free to contact us.

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