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Will A Protection Order Suspend Private Investigator License?

In the UK, a protection order can be issued against someone if someone else proves that they stalked, harassed or physically abused them. In order for a protection or restraining order to be issued against you, it will likely mean that you've been found guilty of committing an offence of harassment.

As a licensed private investigator, this is an issue that you should especially keen on. In many cases, the work of a private investigator requires them to do things that members of the public may consider harassment or stalking if the investigator was to be discovered. Conducting covert surveillance, taking photos or videos may all seem threatening to other people. Under the right circumstances, such actions can be considered harassment.

Laws And Legalities Of Protection Orders

The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 made it possible for courts to issue restraining orders in certain circumstances. This was amended by the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 which allowed courts to impose restraining orders in even more situations. As a licensed investigator, these are some of the laws you should be aware of.

You should note that a restraining order can be issued whether you've been acquitted or convicted. This is because restraining orders are designed to be both protective and preventative. However, as a result of this, it would be unfair for a private investigator's license to be suspended just because a protection order was issued against them.

If the order was issued with the intention of ensuring the investigator didn't follow or harass the other party and not because they were already guilty of harassment, this means that the investigator wasn't at fault yet. This is why the SIA looks at any criminal or legal situation individually and make judgements based on the particulars of the case.

It's also possible for a protection order to be issued against a private investigator because they acted in a manner that genuinely made the other person feel threatened. In such cases, the SIA will have to decide if the licensed investigator's actions were serious enough to be seen as a breach of their ethical obligations. Therefore, the license may be suspended.

The Security Industry Authority expects that any licensed investigator who is facing charges, has been convicted or has been issued with a caution or warning for an offence that's relevant to their work will notify them of the same as soon as possible. This rule applies even if the supposed crime was committed abroad.

What Is Required Of Uk Investigator License Holders?

Apart from the criteria that are set when you apply for a license i.e. being an adult, being a fit and proper person, having the right qualifications and having a right to work, there are also certain things that are expected of a licensed private investigator. This mostly has to do with the licensed investigator's actions.

These include:

  • Wearing the license when in a visible place when doing investigation work
  • Reporting stolen licenses to the police and the SIA
  • Reporting any charges, warnings, cautions or convictions for crimes that are relevant to investigative work
  • Informing the SIA of address and name changes
  • Not defacing the license in any way
  • Not wearing an altered or defaced license
  • Returning the license when asked to etc.

The consequences of failing to abide by the conditions set by the SIA can lead to serious consequences for the licensed investigator. Some of the actions that may be taken include:

  • Being issued with a written warning which may count against you when renewing your license
  • Suspending or revoking your license
  • Prosecuting you (this is possible since contravening license conditions is a criminal offence)

These consequences demonstrate how and why licensing can be an effective tool for ensuring professionalism among those working as private investigators. As a licensed investigator, you should conduct yourself in a professional manner to limit the possibility of being brought up on charges that may affect the status of your license.

It is important for a private investigator to hold a proper license as the requirements to obtain a private investigator license will allow an individual to be professionally trained in how to conduct private investigator services. This will mean that a licensed investigator will carry out their services for appropriate situations and the licensing of the individual will ensure that services are carried out in a professional manner.

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