Law introducing licensing system for guards will make it more expensive to police sites from next year.
tighter regulation of the security industry will mean that contractors are forced to pay more for site protection next year.

Under the legislation, which comes into effect next year, security firms will have to obtain licences for their guards. Each licence is expected to cost £40 in administrative charges, and companies say this will raise their costs 10%.

They are expected to try to pass most of this extra expense to their clients. Martin Neil, sales manager at Wembley-based All Purpose Security, said his company was almost certain to increase its charges when the law comes into force.

Neil said his firm had a contract worth £250,000 a year with Skanska to police four sites in west London. He predicted that this figure would rise by £25,000 in 2002.

Bolton-based contractor Bethell confirmed that it, too, would face additional licensing costs after setting up its own security firm in June to counter vandalism on sites.

Neil said his firm had a £250,000 contract with Skanska. He predicted that this figure would rise by £25,000 in 2002

A manager at Bethell Security Services said that Neil's figure of 10% was probably accurate, adding that security firms would be reluctant to raise costs further because of the intense competition in the sector.

The law, called the Private Security Industry Act, is designed to increase the level of competence in a previously unregulated industry.

A spokesperson for the British Security Industry Association said the implementation of the legislation was still at an early stage, and the figure of £40 for a licence had not been finalised. However, she confirmed that the security providers' charges were likely to rise.