A Big Year for the Private Investigation Industry

2014 will be a big year for the private investigation industry, and will prove to be the making or breaking of private investigation companies throughout the UK with the introduction of compulsory licensing.

The announcement was made back in July 2013, and as of autumn 2014 operating as an unlicensed private detective will be illegal. Here at Insight we stand by saying it’s about time too, as we’ve been in favour of regulation for a long time, frequently writing about the problems with ‘rogue investigators’ and the undeserved reputation of private investigators.

As we have previously stated, in the UK at the moment it is possible for anybody to set themselves up as a private investigator, without any knowledge, qualifications or skills and even regardless of criminal convictions.

However this will all change in autumn, when all private investigators will be required to be licensed by the Security Industry Authority after completing a training course, an exam and passing a criminality check.

Home Secretary Theresa May said at the time: “It is vital we have proper regulation of private investigators to ensure rigorous standards in this sector and the respect of individuals’ rights to privacy.

“That is why I am announcing today the government’s intention to regulate this industry, making it a criminal offence to operate as a private investigator without a licence.

“Anyone with a criminal conviction for data protection offences can expect to have their application for a licence refused.”

Firms could be barred from being licensed if they have been involved in offences including:

  • Unlawful interception of communications, such as phone hacking
  • Accessing data on computers without permission
  • Gathering personal details by posing as someone else, such as blagging information from a call centre
  • Bribery

With this compulsory licensing we predict the number of companies and individuals operating as private investigators will be drastically reduced this year, and those that remain will be the legitimate and professional companies; hopefully removing the negative stigma attached to the industry.

For more information on the announcement by the Home Office, read the story from last year at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-23519690.