The ABI Academy

The ABI as the key professional body for investigators provides its Academy to serve four main functions

  • To service demand for industry qualifications acceptable to any licensing authority in the event of industry regulation.
  • To provide the means for applicants for ABI membership to demonstrate entry-level competency through qualification at Level 3 of the established industry courses.
  • To provide industry relevant training by means of one-day workshops, click here.
  • To deliver the GDPR compliance training, which will demonstrate a capacity and dedication to working in a competent and lawful manner and will also be accepted as the entry level for ABI Provisional membership pending the Level 3 qualification.

As the ABI Academy has evolved, The Association has become increasingly conscious of a number of things, detailed below.

I looked on Google for what I considered to be the most professional and trusted course provider and came to the conclusion it's you!

Training Scams

The ABI, although not an official regulatory body, is in the absence of licensing, often perceived as the body to approach when malpractice, dishonesty and incompetency feature in the sector.

Although the ABI is only responsible for its own, select membership, it nevertheless takes on board the concerns of the public and will tackle industry issues wherever it can.

The ABI has been notified on numerous occasions of scams that involve the sale of training events and sham courses many with the promises of employment or business opportunities at the end.

This has led to a twofold approach.

The first response was for a team of ABI members to collect information, investigate those responsible for such swindles and then present the findings to the authorities.

This has succeeded in obstructing and diverting the offenders largely but has not eliminated the frauds altogether.

The second approach is to create and offer a real alternative. Genuine, quality training for the industry and those embarking in this as a new career.

Training that can be trusted

The hope is that The ABI, as a not for profit organisation, can provide a viable, trusted training facility pitched at affordable levels, with diverse content and accessible locations that the fraudsters, without any provenance, simply cannot compete with.

Private Sector Growth

Professional Investigators in private practice are seeing more and more enquiries that would once have been tackled by their counterparts in the public sector law enforcement fields.

Cutbacks and growing demands have taken their toll on licensing authorities, police, trading standards, regulators, health and safety executive and local authorities.

The investigative services provided by such bodies are still in demand from the public who often turn to the private sector and the civil courts as an alternative.

That demand is accompanied by a need for better knowledge in the investigation sector. It has created an appetite for training.

New and Second Careers

Traditional career paths are changing.

Manufacturing industry, military jobs, public sector service occupations have all changed and reduced in the past decade while the legal sector has expanded.

Voids have appeared and the ever-changing career landscape has begun to attract people into the private sector investigation sphere, which has, itself, grown and become far more sophisticated.


At one time, investigators in the private sector may have been scoffed at in some quarters. The reputation of the industry was such that it was often an amateurish, part time job carried out by chancers.

Gradually, the profession has evolved and it is still maturing now.

Those amateurs are being left behind thanks to the work carried out by The Association of British Investigators over the years.

What was once a job is now truly a profession and is recognised as such; none more than than the ABI working with the Law Society of England & Wales and inclusion in the Preferred Supplier Scheme of the Law Society of Scotland and as an Approved Trade Association by the DVLA.

Those entering the profession today want a slice of that.

The bar has been raised significantly and to reach it, practitioners need to learn from credible teachers.

Awarding body SFJ Awards have designed a new industry specific qualification in surveillance that has been accredited by OFQUAL... read more

If you are truly serious about being a professional investigator, about learning, about running a proper business, about compliance and continual development then, luckily for you, you have arrived at the right place.

Feel free to browse our forthcoming events and book your places.


"The seminar was very well ran and very informative! So much so my head was reeling with ideas and strategies." (2019)
"It was one of the best days I've ever had in terms of professional training. Thank you for organising such an interesting, stimulating, but most importantly, helpful and practically relevant session." (2018)
"I went from knowing very little to being confident in what to do - so excellent and worth the day just for this presentation." (2017)
The ABI Academy

Develop your knowledge...and grow your business

Finding work as a private investigator can be tough, if you don’t have the skill and professional qualifications behind you.

The recognised and accredited qualification is the SFJ Awards Level 3 Award for Professional Investigators. The ABI is at the forefront of professional-investigator excellence in the private sector and we’ve helped to devise this landmark qualification.

With or without investigative experience a candidate in the private or public sector, may qualify to study through distance learning with a trainer approved by the ABI Academy.  The cost for Distance Learning is extremely reasonable as is the cost for the in-class 5-day course leading to the Level 3 Award examination.  The fees are found in the course details.

Whether a beginner or experienced investigator, at the end of your training, you’ll take two exams:

Unit 1: Principles of Planning and Reporting Investigations
Unit 2: Principles of Gathering and Using Information for Investigations

IQ Level 3 Award for Professional Investigators

"The recognised qualification for the accredited professional"

To enrol for the 4-day course or the distance learning course, contact the ABI Academy trainers whose details are found in the course dates.

For the latest course dates click here.

Or for more general enquiry about the ABI or Academy email your enquiry here.

Terms & Conditions applicable when booking an ABI Academy course or training day

  • When booking an ABI Academy 5-day course payment in full is required from which a sum of £250 plus VAT is non refundable and non-transferrable, if for any reason you are unable to attend the course
  • The full 4-day course fee is forfeited unless 14 days notice is given of any cancelled booking.
  • The ABI Academy training providers reserve the right to cancel or reschedule a training course with 21 days notice when a full refund of fees paid will be given or applied to an alternative course.
  • When booking an ABI Academy Distance Learning course/examination payment in full is required and is non-refundable, if for any reason you are unable to attend the examination.
  • The booking of the 4-day course and Distance Learning course/examination may be subject to the ABI Academy training provider’s other terms of business.
  • When booking an ABI Academy training day payment in full is required through Eventbrite and is non-refundable, if for any reason you cancel less than 30 days prior to the training day. 

Working with the Law Society

The ABI is the only association in this industry to be recognised by the Law Society of England and Wales, and included in the Law Society of Scotland's approved Supplier Scheme.

The highest independent professional bodies for solicitors put their trust in us. We’re confident you can do the same.

The ABI other partners also recognise the value of affiliation to the principal professional body in the investigation and litigation support sector:

COURTSDESK SEARCHER is an on-demand search for court cases, or parties involved in court cases, in England and Wales and the Republic of Ireland.
Scotland Law Society logo
Professional Indemnity Insurance