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Minister McEntee publishes Private Security Authority Annual Report 2021

The Minister for Justice Helen McEntee, TD has today published the 2021 Annual Report of the Private Security Authority.

Despite the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic, the PSA maintained high pre-pandemic service levels in the areas in licence application processing, inspections and taking enforcement measures where necessary.

Minister McEntee said:


The Private Security Authority is an important body tasked with regulating the activities of those involved in the private security industry to ensure that the interests of consumers are fully protected through the establishment, promotion, monitoring and enforcement of appropriate standards.”


“I would like to thank Chairman Mr Richard O’Farrell, Chief Executive Paul Scallan and the team at the PSA for their continued commitment to meeting the highest standards of regulation and commend them for running a number of public information campaigns across radio, newspapers and trade magazines to raise awareness of the benefits of a regulated security industry.


The COVID-19 pandemic posed unexpected challenges for all us and naturally had a significant impact on the private security industry, with many businesses that would require private security services closed during periods of public health restrictions. Nonetheless there are positive signs that the industry is recovering and growing, as demonstrated by a 3% increase in number of licensed contractors over the two years of the pandemic. We hope to see the industry sustain this growth in the coming year.”


In 2021, the Private Security Services (Amendment) Act 2021 extended licensing requirements to enforcement guards, who are responsible for assisting in enforcing civil court orders. The Authority established a working group to develop the licensing requirements for enforcement guards and launched a public consultation on the requirements for contractors in December 2021. 


The Annual Report also details progress made on improving regulation in the access control sector of the industry. In 2021 the PSA established a new technical standard for operators in the access control sector, 67:2021, and also improved the oversight of the bodies auditing these standards.

Paul Scallan, Chief Executive of the Private Security Authority commented:

“I am very pleased that despite the challenging background of 2021 we continued to improve and expand our regulatory oversight of the security industry. Our licensing and compliance teams operated at pre-pandemic levels while our Qualifications and Standards team introduced a new standard and oversaw the start of the transition to a new certification model.


The extension of our remit to the regulation of the enforcement guard sector presents a new challenge but one I am confident we will successfully deliver. In this, as with all our actions, our focus will be on the protection of the public through a regulatory regime that raises standards, increases awareness and enforces compliance.”

The Private Security Authority in numbers, 2021

  • 1,447 Contractors Licensed (1,434 in 2020)
  • 32,439 Individuals Licensed (31,104 in 2020)
  • 164 Licences Revoked (31 in 2020)
  • New Standard Published for Access Control
  • 870 Enforcement Cases (687 in 2020)
  • €2,638,738 Income from Fees (€2,746,886 in 2020)
  • 10,498 Applications Processed (12,062 in 2020)


Additional Notes

The Private Security Annual Report 2021 can be accessed using the link below:

Irish -


English -



Key 2021 Statistics

Business Licencing

  • There were 1,447 contractors licensed at the end of December, an increase of 13 on the number licensed at the end of 2020. At the end of 2019, the figure stood at 1,403 which indicates a 3% increase over the two years of the pandemic.
  • 749 of the 810 contractors who were scheduled to renew their licence during the year had done so by the end of the year. The non-renewal rate rose slightly from 7% in 2020 to 8% in 2021.
  • €1,583,980 was received in contractor licence fees in 2021 compared to €1,353,548 in 2020 and €1,429,237 in 2019 (the comparable year in the 2 year licence cycle).


Employee Licencing

  • 2021 showed a slight increase in licence numbers over 2020. There were 32,439 individual licence holders at the end of December, up 1,335 and in line with the pre pandemic level of 32,458 in 2019. The number of sectoral licences rose slightly from 40,134 to 40,720.
  • Individual licence fees were €1,185,172 compared to €1,393,338 in 2020 and €1,951,841 in 2019. The fees in the last comparable year in the 3 year licence cycle, 2018, were €1,124,893, which, despite the pandemic is in line with this year’s figures.
  • PSA received 9,616 individual licence applications during the year comprising of 4,696 renewals and 4,277 first time applications together with a further 643 applications which were rejected. Rejected applications accounted for 7% of all applications in 2021 down from 17% in 2016. 


Licencing Regulations

  • 789 of the 870 enforcement cases in 2021 were completed by the end of the year. In 611 (77%) of these cases we identified some form of non-compliance with the licensing requirements. While most were minor breaches and no further action was taken following rectification of the breach, in 96 (16%) cases some form of sanction was warranted. These actions ranged from revocation of the licence and refusal of an application down to the issuing of an advice notice.