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Friday 4 March, 2011

BSIA: Pan European certification essential in giving small businesses a European foothold

One of the European Union’s main objectives is to facilitate reciprocal trade between its member countries. In the security equipment manufacturers’ environment, however, this has not proved as effective as companies may have hoped. Increasingly standards have been written to provide the platform for uniform independent testing but this in itself is not enough. Consequently, the British Security Industry Association (BSIA), trade association for the private security industry in the UK, and its Security Equipment Manufacturers Section have been long term supporters of pan European certification whereby the quality mark is recognised in all member Countries. This will ensure higher and more uniform quality of products and systems, promoting technical innovation and investment into what is now a fragmented industry in keeping with the aims of European policy.
 
 Currently, each UK Company intending to export their security solutions across the EU are forced to undergo separate testing of said products for most of the countries they wish to export to. This means, for example, that an alarm that is compliant to the auditing requirements in France cannot necessarily be sold in Germany, unless it is being retested specifically for the German market. This onerous process is not only time consuming, but is also financially burdensome, as the costs and time associated with the separate testing of the same products in each country is considerable. This issue is in direct conflict with the primary mission of the European Union, to allow for fairer trade across its member countries and stimulate competition. Smaller companies in fact, risk being discriminated against, as they are unable to sustain the costs they encounter each time they set out to achieve local quality marks.
 
 Geoff Pye, of the BSIA’s Security Equipment Manufacturers (SEMS) section, commented: “Although the European Union has proved successful in shaping regulations and standards applicable to the security industry, it has not managed to streamline the testing process for security solutions. A uniformed testing process could be achieved by introducing pan-European certification, which would provide a one-stop shop for all Quality marks across the continent.  This would mean that security products exported would be assessed against requirements shared by all EU countries, therefore dramatically improving the quality of products entering the market and reducing the confusion surrounding which tests are needed for each country. In addition, pan-European certification would reduce costs for companies, allowing even smaller businesses to stand a chance to compete on a European level.”
 
 The BSIA’s SEMS section has been a long-term supporter of making pan-European certification a legal requirement in the EU, as it is the section’s belief that this would provide a more favourable international trading environment for security manufacturers. For this reason the section and its members will continue to engage with key decision makers in the national and European policy framework, in an effort to reach an agreement that will help streamline and simplify the testing process abroad.
 
 For more information about the BSIA's SEMS section, visit www.bsia.co.uk/manufacturers



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