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Do Private Investigators Have to be Licensed?

Licensing of private investigators has turned out to be one of the great talking points of the security industry in recent times. There have been increased calls for greater oversight for those who work in the industry. This is due to the sensitive information that private investigators are normally in possession of or likely to stumble on over the course of their investigation.

As recently as 2015, there were attempts to push through the licensing of private investigators in the UK. The issue of mandatory licensing seems to have only a few most steps to go before it becomes a reality. However, for the time being, private investigators can still get a license although this is on an optional basis.


Licensing Requirements For Private Investigators In The Uk

Although it's not necessary to have a license to operate as a private investigator in the UK, this doesn't mean that the license itself is of no use. In any profession, any kind of license makes a huge statement regarding the person holding the license. Therefore, the licensing body in the UK has set requirements that will ensure any licensed private investigator is, at the very least, a person of good character and one who's able to do their job.

Therefore, to operate as a licensed investigator in the UK, you'll need:

  • An IQ Level 3 Certificate for Private Investigators
  • A reasonably clean criminal record
  • To be over the age of eighteen
  • Proof of mental fitness
  • A right to work in the UK

When you satisfy these conditions, you will be able to get a license to practice as a private investigator. Criminal records are analysed individually. Having a record will not mean you have no chance of being licensed. You'll also need to pay a £220 fee for the 3-year license.


Licensing Requirements For Private Investigators Around The World

To understand the issue of licensing of private investigators in general, it's important to understand how things are done in other parts of the globe.

In many countries including Australia, the licensing requirements are similar to what you find in the UK. This means that you must show:

  • Proof of having completed the required training at an accredited institution
  • You don't have a criminal past or one that is likely to influence your judgement as an investigator
  • You've attained the legal working age
  • You're mentally fit
  • You have the right to work in that country

However, there are also certain differences as far as the issue of licensing is concerned. These differences include:

  • Countries where licensed private investigators can carry weapons require them to undergo weapons training
  • Some countries require the applicant to have a certain number of hours of experience for them to get a license
  • Licensing fees can be much higher in some countries
  • In countries such as Australia and many US states, licensing is not optional for private investigators for them to do the job.

The requirements will vary from one country to the next. However, what remains clear is that having a licensed enables private investigators to surround they work they do with a layer of professionalism which improves how they and their work is perceived by the public.



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