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Does A Private Investigator Have to Be Licensed?

Licensing of private investigators has been a thorny issue for a while. There has been an increased public outcry calling for better regulation of the industry through private investigator licenses. This is because private investigators tend to access information that can be seriously damaging to a lot of people and can even endanger national security.

However, efforts to impose mandatory private investigator licensing in the industry haven't gone according to plan yet. Private investigators can get licensed by the Security Industry Authority (SIA) if they meet the qualification criteria.

Private Investigator Uk Licensing Criteria

To be a licensed private investigator in the UK, there is a list of requirements that you'll have to meet. These are:

  • You'll have to be aged 18 or older
  • You'll need to have the legal papers that show you have a right to work in the UK
  • An IQ Level 3 Award for Professional Investigators
  • Be of sound mind
  • Have no criminal past that can compromise your job as a private investigator

Private Investigator Licensing Laws In The Uk

The Security Industry Authority was formed in 2001 via the Private Security Industry Act of 2001. This introduced licensing of various roles within the private security industry including private investigation licensing.

However, unlike other roles, licensing isn't mandatory for those practicing private investigation. Because of this, some people practice private investigation without licenses. However, even they must abide by the Data Protection Act 1998. This law requires any agency or individual who has access to other people's personal information to register with the Information Commissioner's Office. Therefore, it is a good idea for a private investigator to have a valid license as this will show the public that they are serious about their work and that they maintain a professional private detective agency.

A private investigator license will also allow a detective agency to uphold to certain standards of practice to ensure the private investigator license is maintained.

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