The National Security Inspectorate (NSI) was launched this week to offer voluntary approval and certification for electronic and staffed security companies.

The NSI was created from the merger of the National Approval Council for Security Systems and the Inspectorate of the Security Industry.

Both original organisations will continue to offer approval schemes to the electronic security and staffed security industries respectively.

The new inspectorate was introduced by home office minister Charles Clarke.

Clarke said the NSI would work with the government's proposed Security Industry Authority.

“The Private Security Bill, currently before parliament, would increase public confidence, improve standards across the industry and drive out the cowboys,” he said.

Sir Michael Bett will be the first chairman of the NSI. He said one of the first areas NSI would investigate was the fire sector, with a push to provide inspection services for fire alarm installers.

It will work with the British Approvals for Fire Equipment on the project.