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Do I Need a Private Investigator License?

Without a private investigator license, anyone who feels like it can wake up one day and start calling themselves a private investigator. For members of the public this presents a number of problems:

  • They may be entrusting their problems to someone who's unlicensed and lacks the skills to carry out the investigation
  • The information they may wish to keep private may not be properly handled
  • The investigator will be operating with little oversight and thus do unethical or illegal things to solve the case etc.

This is why, although there are no legal restrictions to providing private investigator services without a license, many people would rather work with a licensed private investigator. Therefore, although you are not legally required to have a private investigator license, this doesn't mean you don't need one.

Uk Laws Relevant To Private Investigator Licensing

The Private Security Industry Act 2001 included a provision that made it possible for private investigators to be licensed. The law was set up to better regulate the private security industry including private investigators.

Despite the provision, private investigator licenses are not yet required to have licenses. However, there have been attempts to change this recently. The regulations were expected to come into force back in 2014. If they'd come into force, unlicensed private investigators would have faced penalties ranging from fines of thousands of pounds to several months in prison.

However, the implementation of these mandatory licensing regulations was delayed. Therefore, at the moment, the only regulation offering the public a certain degree of protection is the Data Protection Act 1998 which requires all investigators to register with the information commissioner's office.

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