Licensing of Investigations

The Private Security Industry Act 2001 created the Security Industry Authority (SIA) with a mandate to regulate the various sectors of the industry.  Investigations as a defined activity was included but has yet to be implemented.

Licensing was expected to commence in October 2014 and anticipated to be complimented by a Business Licensing regime based on the British Standards Institution code of practice, BS102000.

The process of accountability by Business Licensing, if introduced, will enhance the Association of British Investigators' existing high standard and is expected to eventually erode to extinction the unwelcome market of unscrupulous opportunists who have hitherto blighted the sector by masquerading as Private Investigators.

The Association will embrace any development on licensing and will enthusiastically offer its assistance and full support to The Home Office and the Security Industry Authority in the implementation process.

Unfortunately other matters have distracted Ministers and there has been little Parliamentary update on licensing since 2014.  However, in June 2018 The Home Office published the long awaited Review paper, click here for full version.  The Review recommends that Business Licensing be applied to the whole security industry and that Investigation be treated as a business for this purpose:

Private investigators – Private Investigators should be treated as businesses and subject to the revised voluntary ACS system of standards. The SIA will need to work with the PI industry on a suitable set of standards and implementation timetable.

In the meantime, the Republic of Ireland introduced licensing for investigations on 01 November 2015, which is based on how the SIA may have implemented Business Licensing in the UK.

A Report on the situation and overview of icensing in the UK and the Republic of Ireland, written by ABI Past President Tony Imossi, can be viewed by clicking here.

Click here for an article about the PI profession and regulation by member Peter Farrington.

For now the PI sector suffers the repetitional damage by the few opportunists masquerading as Private Investigators scamming members of the public.

May 2018 Radio 4 programme on Scamming PI agencies

Endorsed by the Law Society

The ABI is the only association in this industry to be endorsed 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.

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