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Issues and controversies that bedevil the Association of British Investigators

The Association of British Investigators Limited was incorporated on 31st December 1970. The ABI was formed approximately 50 years ago – not 100 years ago as claimed.

The Association of British Detectives had some common members that crossed over into the Association of British Investigators, but, they were separate legal entities when the ABD folded.

Frank Martin and his wife bequeathed a substantial residential property in Kingston-upon-Thames, to the Association of British Investigators (ABI) in 1976.

With Frank’s “War chest” and members subscriptions the President, Chair, Secretariat and the GC / General Council of the A.B.I seek to lead the professional private investigator sector into their version of the “promised land”.

The Association of British investigators pay big bucks for their “Endorsements” from the Law Society of England and Wales and the Law Society of Scotland.

The tie up with the Law Societies allows the ABI to project a sleek, legitimate, public face, working tirelessly to professionalise everyone and everything as they seek to become – “The regulators of the sector”.

It all good for business, what is there, “Not to like”.

What is the sector?

Most trade associations in the private investigator sector (Association of British Investigators, Institute of Private Investigators, World Association of Private Investigators, World Association of Detectives, Association of European Investigators, UK Professional Investigators Network, Association of Corporate Investigators, Ex Police in Industry and Commerce) have members from a myriad of small, one- and two- person, private investigation firms who can have a variety of backgrounds – Civvy Street, the police or the military. Throw in a few bigger conglomerations and you have the UK’s professional private investigator sector.

Who currently regulates the sector?

HM Government have missed the private investigator licence “Boat”…it doesn’t appear that any time soon a formal, mandatory, licencing scheme will emanate from their offices.

The ABI keep putting themselves forward as the alternative to “police” the sector – having failed to make any kind of concerted effort to include any of the other trade bodies in their paradigm, they, “Plough on”, regardless.

Issues / Controversies

FBME Bank affair

The benevolent fund

Negligence from the trustees – to the point of recklessness. Who took responsibility for paying the salary of the then secretary’s wife from the fund? Thousands of pounds were subsequently returned to the fund following former President, Richard Newman, requesting clarity relating to the payments.

Failure to act

The GC failed to listen to a member who blew the whistle on a particular investigator. Subsequently a historic sex offence that led to a conviction came to light. The membership is still being kept in the dark and no one has been formally or informally notified about matters.


The ABI hierarchy will not accept any criticism. Debate is stifled, everything is buried under the carpet.

The Standards, Memorandum of Association, Articles of Association, by Laws, Codes of Ethics and “Professional Standards” of the Association only applies to A.B.I members – the President, Chair, Secretariat and the GC / General Council of the A.B.I have elected to ignore and “Ring Fence” themselves from the rules and principles that should apply to everyone in the organisation…

Whilst everyone turns a blind eye…matters do not have to change. Reputation and character have however been lost forever.

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