On the 4th July 2011 a story in The Guardian newspaper rocked the private investigator industry like nothing before; the story told how The News of The World had hired a private investigator to hack and access murder victim Milly Dowler’s voicemail which had a direct impact on her family and the case itself. Since the day of the story going to press many things have changed. Now almost one year on Insight take a look at how significant this revelation has proved to be.
Ever since it was announced that a private investigator was hired to access voicemails illegally the private investigator industry has never been the same. From day one it had a direct impact on Insight as a private detective agency, for weeks we had to deal with a mass number of calls from members of the public either looking for us to hack phones or asking for advice on preventing phone hacking. As hacking is illegal this meant that countless hours of time and resource were wasted from our part as we will not entertain undertaking any illegal activity in any shape or form.
We now know that this type of increased activity affected other agencies and that in the months that followed a number of private investigators were caught out and proved to be offering these types of services for financial gain.
As an industry that requires a high level of skill, experience and of course honesty, the ramifications of investigators offering illegal services has pushed on the call from Government and public level for the sector to be regulated and licensed in the right way as soon as possible. Insight have long campaigned for private investigator regulation. It is just a shame that it took such a sweeping revelation to bring things to a head and get the ball rolling on how best to regulate the industry.
The highly publicised Leveson Enquiry and Home Office have taken opinion and evidence from highly respected investigators such as our Director Tony Smith and other industry association leaders in order to find out the best way forward for the investigation sector and how best to license the industry. Of course this matter is still a way off being finalised and as yet there is no solid plan for the regulation of private investigators. Again, Insight would hope this matter is resolved swiftly as it continues to take another step closer all the time.
With the nature of the countless stories, news features and documentary style features on the private investigator sector, there has been an ongoing wave of unusual and quite bizarre enquiries from members of the public as another scandal is revealed. The public perception of private investigators has obviously been damaged as a whole and a negative feeling towards our sector has been obvious ever since the Guardian article on 4th July 2011.
The steps being taken to clean up the industry should bode well for future relationships between private investigators, members of the public and commercial entities alike. If anything the revelations will have shocked some of the rogue players within our industry to perhaps clean up their act for fear of the law coming down hard on them like never before. Jail sentences have been passed over the past 12 months to highlight how seriously the matter is being taken.
In summary, it has been a tough year to be a private detective agency however as a company who act in a wholly legal manner we can see the long-term benefit that all this negativity should brin. As we’ve said many times before, we can only hope things are implemented in the right way from the start and that no mistakes are made that lead to further problems.