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Do You Need a License to Be Private Investigator?

Whether or not you need a license to become a private investigator is a question of whether you'd like to operate on the lower echelons of the industry or whether you'd like to rise up. In any industry that's based on service delivery, licensing is always an important part of the equation. Even when a license is not required, such as in private investigation, there is a marked difference between those who have licenses and those who do not.

Licensing Requirements For Private Investigators

At the time you're applying for a private investigator's license from the Security Industry Authority or SIA, there are several things you must have in your possession. These are:

  • Evidence that you're of legal working age
  • An IQ Level 3 Certificate for Private Detectives
  • Right to work in the UK

Apart from these licensing factors, anyone applying to become a licensed private investigator will have to undergo a background check. The purpose of this check will be to show that the applicant is of sound mind and good character. Therefore, the SIA will focus on:

  • Whether the applicant has had to be confined to an institution due to a mental issue
  • Whether the applicant has a criminal record and the circumstances surrounding the criminal record in question.

Attainable Qualifications For Private Investigator Licensing

As far as the Security Industry Authority is concerned, there is only one qualification that is relevant to the licensing of a private investigator. This is the IQ Level 3 Award for Professional Investigators. To attain this award, a private investigator will have to undergo a certain number of hours of training in an accredited institution and they'll also have to sit for a test that's conducted by IQ. These tests are carried out at specific regional examination centres and will help a private investigator in obtaining a license.

Once a private investigator has attained this qualification, they can apply for a private investigator license from the SIA. However, although they have no impact on the issue of licensing, it's still a good idea for a private investigator to get additional qualifications which may increase their skillset.

Why You Need An Investigator's License

Although it's not a legal requirement, you almost certainly need to have an investigator's license if you wish to excel in this industry.

Having a license can make a huge difference because:

  • It may make it easier to find clients when you're yet to build a reputation
  • It makes you look professional
  • It builds the reputation of the industry of which you're a part of
  • It can help you to gain access to people or locations that may be, otherwise, out of reach
  • It can be good for self-motivation

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