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Skills sets in the (Licenced?) Private Investigator Sector

The skills and services that investigators offer depend on their specialisms, market research, advertising, resources and, of course – their ability. Private Investigators offer general services like: surveillance, missing people enquiries, corporate enquiries, investigations, process serving and such like. Some agencies will offer specialised services such as insurance investigations, Road Traffic Accident Investigations, Statement taking and such like.

The advent of full professionalism with compulsory licensing is now imminent and we all expect a big uplift in demand for the skills that Investigators in the private sector offer.

In the Law Society Gazette of: September 2008, the following was recorded, regarding Private Investigator Licences:

“The big players, such as leading risk consultants Kroll, argue that there should be a corporate licence for the bigger firms instead of a corporate licence for the bigger firms instead of individual licences. Tommy Helsby, Chairman of Kroll’s Europe, Middle East and African Region, says: “It’s just going to add unnecessary costs to the business. There is a huge difference between our business, and others like us, and the one-man bands to which these regulations apply. It’s like requiring every employee at Eddie Stobart have an HGV licence – it is simply a fundamental lack of understanding of the business”.

Large organisations like Capita or Kroll will embrace Corporate Licences, but, if every single employee needs an individual private investigator licence, bearing in mind the possible cost of a UK PI Licence, I am certain that these corporate investigators will seek, “Off Shore”, licences or will try to rebrand operatives as: “Solicitors Agents”, “Forensic Accountants”, “Analysts” or “Researchers”.

The Parliamentary Home Affairs Select Committee in recommending that the licensing of Private Investigators goes ahead makes two very important points:

The term: “Private Investigator” will become a protected term, a bit like: “Solicitor”, or: “Trading Standards Officer”. You cannot, simply, call yourself a PI, Private Detective or Private Investigator, if you are not engaged in a, relevant: “Investigatory Process”, in the Private Sector.

Secondly, if you are, “Engaged in an investigatory Process”, then you must be licences as a Private Investigator or you need to be “Registered”…

There is good news for the, “Big players”, the Home Affairs Select Committee have also recommended that if a company is licensed, then the employees need only to be registered as PI’s.

Solicitors and other professionals will also need to be on the Private Investigator Register, when licensing arrives, if they engage in activity that comes under the definition of “Private Investigation”.


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