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How to Get a Private Investigator License UK

When you're going into the field of private investigation, it's vital that you consider which tools can help you to become the best possible private investigator you can be. Although things like a high-powered camera or a surveillance van may be the first to come to mind, there might be something simpler that may even be better for your career; a private investigator license.

As simple as it sounds, a private investigator license is actually an important part of a modern private investigator's toolkit. Nowadays, just having a business card with your name and the words 'Private Investigator' isn't enough to get people to confide in you. Showing a detective license from a government agency is much more effective.


What Do You Need To Get A Private Detective License?

Before you start the process of applying for your private investigator license, you should check whether you have the things you'll need for a smooth application process. You wouldn't want to realize when you've already started applying for an investigator license that you're missing something vital.

As a standard, you should have the following when applying for your license:

  • Training in Private Investigation
  • Legal work permit
  • A clean criminal record
  • The mental capacity for the job
  • The licensing fee

How To Apply For A Private Investigator License

Applications for private investigator licenses in the UK are done to the Security Industry Authority. This is the only body that has the power to issue these detective licenses in the UK.

Part of the process is carried out online while the other part may need to be completed through the post office. The basic steps are as follows:

  • Setting up of an online account on SIA's website and filling in your personal details
  • Starting a new application specifically for a private investigator license. The application must be completed and relevant documents attached as well.
  • Going to the post office to carry out the remaining part of the application as will be explained in the email notification you'll receive after submitting the online application.
  • Waiting for notification while the SIA carries out the necessary checks
  • Receiving notification on whether the application has been approved and either waiting for the SIA license card (14 days max.) or appealing the decision if the license is not to be issued (within 21 days of notice).

When the applicant is not the one paying for their private investigator license, there will be a few differences in the above steps. If it's just another business that's paying for the application, you'll need to link to them when filling the online application.

If you're applying through an employer, you'll need to link to them and they'll also need to fill in your information, pay the license fee and submit the application for you. If your employer uses a feature known as License Management, you won't have to take the step of going to the post office. This step is usually for purposes of identity verification and the License Management feature allows the employer to do this for you.


Uk Requirements For A Private Investigator License

To hold a private investigator license in the UK, the following will be required from you:

  • Proof of being an adult
  • £220 licensing fee
  • A right to work in the UK
  • Proof that you're of sound mind
  • A clean criminal record (preferred but not required)

For applicants with a criminal record, the SIA will consider the nature of the crime and the time that has passed since the crime was committed. A criminal record will not automatically disqualify you.



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