Private Investigators to be Licensed by the SIA
Licensing Investigators Fact or Fiction?
Operating as an unlicensed private investigator will become a criminal offence, Home Secretary Theresa May announced on Wednesday (31 July 2013).
The current arrangements, under which the system is not regulated, allows anyone to work as a private investigator, regardless of their skills, experience or criminal convictions. This presents a high risk of rogue investigators unlawfully infringing on the privacy of individuals.
The Home Office is introducing new regulation of private investigators to put a stop to this and help ensure the public is protected against unscrupulous activity.
All investigative activities that are carried out for the purposes of publishing legitimate journalistic material will be excluded from regulation.
S.I.A to Grant Licences
Licences will only be granted by the Security Industry Authority when an applicant has successfully:
- Completed training and achieved a government-recognised qualification, which includes understanding of relevant laws and standards, and the skills required to conduct activities ethically;
- Confirmed their identity; and
- Undergone a thorough criminality check.
As with other sectors of the private security industry, all applicants will need to meet these standards in order to receive a licence. This includes any contractors working on private investigations for companies.
Will it affect me?
The statement will affect a large number of people already operating as Private Investigators. The Private Security Industry Act specifies the activity of Private Investigations and highlights the activities for which licensing will apply.
Will I need to gain a specific qualification?
The SIA specifies that investigators will need to prove competency in several key areas. Competency has historically been proven by applicants providing evidence of nationally recognised qualifications in their chosen sector such as Security Guarding, CCTV, Door Supervision or Close Protection.Private Investigators will also be required to do the same and it is anticipated that the EDI Level 3 Award in Professional Investigations will meet this criteria and allow individuals to apply for an SIA licence to operate as a Private Investigator.
The training for this qualification is a flexible approach and those with existing experience in Investigations, Surveillance or substantial experience within the Security Sector may benefit from the distance learning package available.
Click the link to see more details: