As the licencing regime in the UK continues to, “Roll out” it is expected that Private Investigators will be given the, “Carrot and stick”, treatment.
Licenced Private Investigators will be given access to databases in, “Strictly defined”, circumstances and these privileges may well extend to Land Registry and Vehicle Licencing information.
But what happens if you are Unlicenced, come the end of 2014?
The SIA has revealed that if you are convicted, the penalty for working as an unlicensed private investigator or for supplying unlicenced staff will be:
A maximum penalty of six months imprisonment and/or a fine of up to £5,000. If your offences are proven at: Crown Court or the High Court you will be looking at an unlimited fine and/or up to five years imprisonment.
It will be a very sobering moment for some private investigators.
The good news is that you have plenty of time to put your procedures, methods of investigation, ethics and standards into good order.
Make sure your training partners are proven and businesslike and that you take the appropriate steps to obtain, keep and benefit from your Private Investigator Licence.
My tips for success are:
Adopt a policy whereby you screen and select your clients – pay particular attention to people that are looking for “Closed source” information – A Section 55 Offence will disqualify you from practicing as a Private Investigator when the new regime is introduced.
Avoid taking on surveillances or enquiries directly from the general public. As progressive private investigators you will know that these types of assignments are the ones that come back to bite you. You need to be part of the process of re-educating the public who often have an inaccurate perception about our services.
As and when you obtain your licence you will have the tools to deal with potential conflicts of interest, nuisance provocateurs and poorly informed members of the public…………………
The simple answer is then: Sorry, can’t risk my Licence!