In 2019, the state and nationwide guard register was newly introduced, which is obligatory for the private security industry. In this article, you will learn what the purpose of the guard register is, who makes entries in it, what the guard ID is all about and much more that you should know as a security employee — but especially as a professional in the security industry.
Incidentally, the guard register can be found on the internet at www.bewacherregister.de
Basic information on the guard register (BWR)
The German Guarding Register is a central and digital register that contains information on guarding personnel (security staff) as well as on the guarding trade operator (security contractor) and the commercial enterprise (security company). Since July 2020, the Federal Ministry of the Interior and Home Affairs (BMI) has been responsible for the law on security guards and thus also for the register of security guards. As the federal authority responsible for the operational management of the register since October 2022 is the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis):
Since the introduction of the Guarding Register (BWR), all traders in the guarding sector are obliged to register their companies and their security staff in the BWR. In future, only the authorities responsible for enforcing the guarding laws may make changes to the entries of natural persons. For this purpose, traders provide information in the BWR on the qualification, reliability, identity and accessibility of security personnel.
About 1,300 municipal public order offices and other competent authorities of the Länder check the information provided, approve or reject commercial enterprises and security personnel. In doing so, they use the BWR to access information from the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) regarding qualifications and from the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) regarding reliability.
If someone wants to work in the guarding business, they have to pass a background check. The results of this check are recorded in the guarding register. The register also contains information on professional qualifications as well as information on the identity of the registered person.
Employers in the security sector are obliged to carry out a search in the guard register before employing a security employee (guard). This is to ensure that only suitable and reliable persons are employed in the security sector.
The guard register is thus intended to contribute to improving security and quality in the security industry and to strengthening public confidence in the private security industry.
What is the guard register identification number?
The guard register identification number (in short: guard ID) is a unique identification numberwhich allows for clear identification and attribution. A guard ID is assigned when the guard is first entered into the register. The ID of a security guard is valid even if the employer changes, i.e. it always remains the same for a person — at least if one is continuously employed in the security sector without longer interruptions. Security guards, i.e. security contractors, also receive such a 7‑digit ID number.
How do I obtain a guard ID as an employee?
If you are new to the private security industry, you will receive your guard ID when you first enter the guard register. The initial registration is done by your (potential) employer. If you change security companies, you should request your guard ID directly from your previous employer. The advantage of this is that you can be released immediately because the register can be checked more quickly with the new employer. You should also find your guard ID as an indication on your service card.
Do I have to pay for the guard ID if I want to work in the private security industry?
No. In principle, the employer has to bear these costs, which arise from the (first-time) registration of the guard in the guard register. Some employers have the idea of charging these costs to the new employee or deducting them from the first salary. Such behaviour is not very serious. The situation is different, of course, if potential employees deliberately provide false information (e.g. about previous convictions): fair play for both sides!
Can I carry out all activities in the private security industry with a guard ID?
No. For certain activities you need the Examination of expertise according to § 34a GewO or additional qualifications such as weapons expertise. In addition, it may be that the competent authority attaches certain conditions to employment or prohibits employment completely, e.g. due to previous convictions.
Can I work in a security company without a guard ID?
Not in principle, but it depends on the specific activity: If you professionally guard lives or property of others, an entry in the guard register is required. Without a guard ID and clearance, you may not work for a security company as a security guard. However, there are activities that do not fall under guarding, such as pure stewarding activities or ticket validation. In this case, you are not working as a commercial security guard and do not need a guard ID.
As an employer, what do I have to pay particular attention to in the guard register?
First and foremost, it is important that all employed guards have been reported and that the Release has been carried out before they work in the security service for even the first minute. In addition, the concrete Range of application be specified and also regularly updated, e.g. if a security guard takes on more demanding tasks (e.g. as a shop detective or certain management tasks) instead of previously simple guarding tasks (e.g. in property protection), especially if for this the Examination of expertise according to § 34a Gewo required is.
A Dismissal of an employee for example, must be notified to the competent authority via the guard register no later than 7 weeks after termination of the employment relationship so that the employee can be deregistered.
Also Changes in the master data such as changes of address of employees, entrepreneurs and companies, new telephone availability, etc. must of course be reported in order to keep this information up to date.
It should also be noted that — depending on the local authority — the registration of new security staff can sometimes involve considerable waiting times during the examination of the registration up to the final release. Furthermore, every new installation for guards is a Fee to pay. This is currently usually at least 50 euros, but can also be considerably higher in some regions.
If a guard is already registered, i.e. an ID is available, this only needs to be re-linked — there are then no fees for the entrepreneur.
Incidentally, entries are currently automatically deleted after 12 months following the deregistration of security guards. This means that if an applicant registers with a guard ID and has not worked in the industry for over a year, it is very likely that the check will have to be completely redone.
What all is in the guard register?
The data that may be recorded in the register and processed by the register authority is set out in § Section 11b para. 2 of the Trade, Commerce and Industry Regulation Act (GewO) set.
- To Traders is recorded: Surname, surname at birth, first name; sex; date of birth, place of birth, country; nationalities; telephone number, e‑mail address; registration address consisting of street, house number, postcode, town, addendum, country, state and regional key; places of residence in the last five years consisting of street, house number, postcode, country and state; type of identity document with issuing authority, issuing state, date of issue, identity document number, expiry date, machine-readable name if available and content of the machine-readable zone; if applicable. Further data for legal persons (e.g. legal form, registration number and registration court, business address, contact details).
- To Commercial enterprise (security company), information such as the business name, legal form, type of register and further data on the entry in the register as well as the business address of the main branch and, if applicable, that of other business premises and, furthermore, additional data on accessibility such as telephone number and e‑mail address are stored.
- To the Security guards (guards/security staff), the following personal data is stored: Family name, surname at birth, first names; gender; date of birth, place of birth, country of birth; nationalities; registration address consisting of street, house number, postcode, city, addendum, country, state and regional key; places of residence in the last five years consisting of street, house number, postcode, country and state; type of identification document with issuing authority, issuing state, date of issue, identification document number, expiry date, machine-readable name if available and content of the machine-readable zone.
In addition, among other things, the following is stored:
- Date of granting of permission
- Scope of permission
- Expiry of the permit, if applicable
- Indication of the activity of the guard
- Prohibition of employment, if applicable
- Reliability verification data (date, type and result of verification, etc.)
- Indication of the contact details of the competent licensing authority
- Status of the permit procedure
- Data from the guard register interface to the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution
- Data on certificates of competence and training from the chambers of commerce and industry of guards and tradespeople
- Contact details of the local competent authority
What are the advantages and disadvantages of the guard register?
Of course — the maintenance of the guard register is time-consuming. However, as an electronic register, it also offers advantages that lie in the digitalisation and harmonisation of the previously analogue (paper) processes.
These are significant advantages of the guard register:
- Control of qualifications: The guard register enables a systematic control of the qualifications of security guards, as they have to prove at least a qualification according to § 34a GewO in order to be registered.
- Customer safetyRegistration in the guard register provides clients with a higher level of security, as they know that the security guards employed are vetted and qualified.
- Protection of the public: The guard register helps to increase the security of the public by excluding persons without the required expertise and personal reliability from carrying out security activities.
- TransparencyThe guard register creates transparency about the qualifications and reliability of security guards and thus ensures more trust in the industry.
- Minimising abuse: Registration in the guard register reduces the misuse of security services by unqualified or unreliable persons (e.g. persons with a relevant criminal record).
- Legal basis and binding force: The guard register takes up legal regulations that standardise and regulate the training and qualification of security guards.
- Efficient controls: The guard register enables the competent authorities to efficiently check whether security companies and employees comply with the legal requirements.
- Professional developmentRegistration in the guard register sometimes promotes the professional development of security guards, as it creates incentives for further education and training.
- Credibility of the industry: The Guard Register contributes to the credibility of the security industry by underlining the professionalism and seriousness of the registered companies and employees.
- Efficient exchange From information: The guard register enables authorities nationwide to quickly exchange relevant information on security forces, which improves cooperation and collaboration.
These are major disadvantages of the guard register:
- Administrative burden: The establishment and maintenance of the guard register requires a certain amount of bureaucracy and administrative work, both for the authorities and for the companies wishing to register themselves and their staff.
- CostsRegistration in the register of guards involves costs. There are, of course, up-front costs for those who have to undergo instruction, expert examination or special training — although this was required even without BWR.
- Restriction of market access: Qualification and registration requirements can make market entry difficult for potential new entrants to the security industry.
- Delays: Processing registration applications and issuing guard IDs can take time, which can lead to delays in recruiting security guards.
- Protection of personal data: The guard register contains sensitive information about security guards, so it is important to protect the data from misuse or unauthorised access.
- Monitoring effort: In order to ensure the effectiveness of the guard register, the competent authorities must carry out regular checks and monitoring measures, which means additional work.
- Exceptions and loopholes: In some cases, security forces or companies might try to circumvent the registration requirement or exploit loopholes, which could compromise the effectiveness of the registry.
Guard Register: Vision & Reality
On the introduction of the guard register on 1 January 2019, the lawyer Jörg Zitzmann analysed in the Podcast for protection and security the background. He goes into the background of the introduction of the register, explains what the guard register means for traders and security staff, who is responsible, what data is collected and how high the costs are for the examination and register entries:
(Source: Podcast for protection and security / Jörg Zitzmann)
Overall, it can be said that the guard register has more advantages than disadvantages. It provides transparency, can increase security and confidence in the private security industry. If a guard ID has already been assigned, both employees looking for a new job and security companies benefit from accelerated electronic processing. Nevertheless, there are also disadvantages, such as the time-consuming initial creation and verification of employees, combined with not inconsiderable costs, which are not uniform nationwide, as well as the continuous data maintenance. Loopholes are also possible — especially if actual on-site checks of the deployed security staff are rare.