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What Is a Private Investigator License?

Having a private investigator license has become important in the world of private investigation. Although there is no legal requirement to carry a license when you practice as a private detective in the UK, private investigator licenses have become the mark of the very best investigators in the market.

It's not too late for you to get your private investigator license even if you've been practising for some time now and it's also not too early to think about being licensed if you're just getting started on the path to becoming a private investigator.


How To Get Your Private Investigator License

The first step to becoming a licensed private investigator is to get the right training. The Security Industry Authority requires a private detective license holder to hold an IQ Level 3 Certificate for Professional Investigators. Therefore, you'll need to find a training course that leads to this award. Once you attain this award, the next step is to apply for a license from the SIA.

Applying for an SIA license takes the following steps:

  • Setting up an account on the SIA website
  • Submitting an application via the site
  • Sending the required documents and payments through the post office
  • Waiting for a response.

On occasion, the SIA will ask for additional documents from you. You can also appeal the SIA's decision if you feel your case hasn't been properly assessed.


Why Do Licenses Matter If They're Not Mandatory?

Where licensing is mandatory, licenses show that you have a legal right to do a particular job. However, in the case of private investigation, licensing isn't compulsory but having one still says a lot about the holder.

A license says that:

  • The private investigator cares enough about their job to approach it as a professional
  • The licensed investigator is attached to a body that requires them to abide by certain rules
  • The investigator has undergone the requisite training to carry out the job
  • The detective has no criminal past that may compromise their work
  • There's someone to hold the investigator accountable if anything goes wrong


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