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What License Do You Need to Be a Private Investigator?

Although private investigator licenses aren't required by law, having one has become almost standard practice for any professional investigator. However, the body that issues licenses to private investigators also has the responsibility of issuing licenses to other players in the security industry. Because private investigators sometimes also take on these other licensable roles, it's important to know the distinction between these licenses.

Private Security Industry Licensing Body

In the private security industry, there's only one body that is permitted to issue licenses to private investigators. This is the Security Industry Authority. If anyone else claims to have a license issued by another body, they're almost certainly running a fraudulent operation.

The Security Industry Authority is also in charge of issuing licenses to other operators in the private security industry, many of whom work closely or within the same agencies as private investigators.

Types Of Licenses Available

For purposes of private investigation, there is only one type of license available. This is the standard license that the SIA issues to private investigators. However, people who run private investigation agencies may also offer additional services that require separate licenses. In many cases, licensing of these other roles is not only available but also necessary.

This is unlike the case for private investigators where licenses are highly recommended but not required by law.

These other licensable services that private investigation agencies usually offer include:

  • Manned guarding
  • Close protection
  • Door supervision
  • Security guard
  • Key holding
  • Surveillance of public spaces
  • Vehicle immobilization etc.

A separate license is required by each person who is carrying out any of the above activities. Someone who also serves as a direct supervisor to those performing licensable roles is also required to have a license.

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