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Do You Need a License to Be a Private Investigator?

Private investigators offer a service that is very crucial to the public. Conventional police officers can only take on so many cases.

Even when a case is important, police officers rarely have the resources needed to investigate them thoroughly enough. With private investigators available, members of the public can have someone with the professional skills needed to look into such cases. However, in the UK, private investigators can either be licensed or unlicensed.

Due to an absence of the required legislation, it's not necessary for private investigators to carry a licensed in order to practice. This raises the question of whether you should bother being licensed in the first place.


How To Get A Private Investigator's License In The Uk

Although it's not necessary to have a private investigator's license in the UK, there is still a provision to get a license. Private investigator licenses in the UK are issued by the Security Industry Authority or SIA.

The qualifications for receiving a private investigator's license in the UK are:

  • Attaining the IQ Level 3 Award for Professional Investigators or the BTEC Level 3 Award
  • Pass the Fit and Proper person tests
  • Pay the £220 licensing fee
  • Have a right to work in the UK
  • Be over the age of 18

Do You Need To Get A Private Investigator's License?

As earlier pointed out, private investigator licenses are not yet mandatory in the UK. This means you can still operate as a private investigator even without a license. However, there are three good reasons why you'll want to get a license before you start practising.

These are:

  • A license makes you look professional: A license is proof that you've undertaken the training necessary to become a private investigator and that your work is approved by an official body. From the perspective of many clients, the license is the proof that you know how to do your job.
  • Future proofing: Although private investigator licenses are not yet compulsory, there is a good chance this will change in the future. There have been efforts to introduce mandatory licensing in the private investigation industry for a while now and soon or later it will happen.
  • Joining Professional Associations: Being a licensed private investigator might be necessary to join certain professional bodies. Being a member of these bodies helps to boost your reputation and can also help you to gain access to new clients via referrals.