ABI Origins

The Association of British Investigators - 100 years

The year was 1913 when a retired Scotland Yard detective by the name of Harry Smale laid the first foundation stone of what is the Association of British Investigators we know today. Little would Mr Smale have known that his meeting with a group of other London private detectives, and their decision to form the British Detectives Association would one day become the UK's leading organization to represent professional investigators in the private sector.

The purpose and objectives back in 1913 are quoted as follows:

"To promote and protect the interests of members and their relations with each other and with their employees, to reform abuses, to improve and purify detective methods, to guard against imposition and fraud by such persons as do not meet their obligations, also to seek national and international business in the name of the Association and apportion same amongst it's members. To make it a clean profession by our example and endeavor to purge it of undesirables"

Wise words from wise men of their day, and objectives that those Association leaders who have followed have worked hard to achieve.

The General Secretary, Eric Shelmerdine gave a brief overview of ABI's history in the 2012 AGM promotional video:

The Association of British Investigators celebrated its Centenary in London.


The ABI 1990 AGM was followed by the formal banquet.