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Why Does a Private Investigator Need a License?

When you're working as a private investigator, there are a number of scenarios that you may find yourself in that could be testing if you are not prepared through licensing, such as:

  • Possessing information that could wreak havoc in the lives of people
  • Not being able to obtain the evidence you need without breaking a few laws
  • Being tempted to do something unethical for your own sake or for the sake of the case etc.

Without any sort of oversight, it's far too easy for some private investigators to make the wrong decision in such cases. This is why licensing is of such importance in the field of private investigation. However, licensing isn't just about oversight, it also has certain benefits for the private investigator.

Requirements To Get A Detective License In The Uk

In order to be licensed by the Security Industry Authority, a private investigator in the UK will have to meet certain minimum requirements. These are:

  • Having a right to work in the UK
  • Being 18 years or older
  • Having an IQ Level 3 Award for Private Detectives
  • Passing a background test that looks into criminal and mental health records

These requirements were put in place to ensure anyone who holds the title of licensed private investigator in the UK was capable of performing their work as required and not compromise the welfare of their clients or the general public in the process.

Requirements To Get A Detective License Around The World

A cursory look at the requirements to get a private investigator license in many countries around the world will reveal that many of these requirements share the same 'spirit' as those used here in the UK. These requirements are put in place to ensure that private investigators have the skills and knowledge to carry out their jobs and that they also don't pose a threat to others while carrying out their duties.

However, there are distinct differences in requirements as you go from one jurisdiction to the next. For instance, there are states in the United States where investigators must also be experienced in investigative work before they can be licensed and there are many places around the world where anyone with a criminal record will never be considered for a licensable role in the security industry.

How A Private Investigative Agency Benefits From Licensing

It's easy to look at licensing of private investigators and see it as nothing more than inconvenience especially when you don't know what its benefits are. However, for any agency, being licensed can completely change the face of the business.

Some of the benefits a company may enjoy from being licensed include:

  • Looking more professional to clients and the wider public
  • Attracting more clients due to its status as having licensed investigators
  • Being able to charge rates that are more professional
  • Being able to deal with institutional clients who are wary of dealing with unlicensed investigators
  • Gaining access to a wider professional network that can lead to more business via referrals etc.

It's the pursuit of such benefits that has led many companies to insist on their investigators being licensed.

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