We’re often asked about the regulation and licensing of private investigators in the UK.
The short answer is that currently, a UK private investigator does not need to be licensed. Something with which we disagree, and take our own measures to ensure safe, ethical success for our clients and operatives.
Admittedly, private investigation is a complicated business to regulate – with so many areas from process serving, to insurance, to criminal defence, and not least surveillance, which poses the question: How to regulate an operative who isn’t ‘supposed’ to be there?
In 2013, Theresa May, then in the home office, tried to regulate the industry following the News Of The World phone hacking scandal. This subject has now gone quiet, however the Scottish government support private investigator licensing and it could soon become a criminal offence to operate unlicensed in Scotland. This is something that would be welcomed by our Edinburgh Private Investigators team.
Licensing can bring benefits, such as investigators having improved access to data for legitimate reasons, to help prevent crime. Which consequently also relieves some of the growing pressure on the police force in times of rising crime.
Without private investigator licensing and regulation in the UK, anyone could wake tomorrow, build a website and market themselves as a private investigator. We have witnessed a big increase in individuals and companies intentionally taking clients’ money for very poor services lacking proper training, experience and diligence.
Of course, any licensing mustn’t be too restrictive – we must have some freedom to bring about justice. However, we would be entirely in favour for at the very least, a basic UK licensing that would eradicate this issue of improper service from unqualified operatives.
As always, we continue to hire, train and serve to the highest standards in all possible regards – quality, ethics, service, discretion and so on. Success for our client is key and our exemplary 25 year reputation absolutely depends on it. If we didn’t always operate with the utmost in quality, ethics and care, we simply wouldn’t have had the longevity and success we’ve had.
Our ICO fee-paying resignation number
Until there is licensing and regulation of private investigators in the UK, we will of course continue to monitor and uphold the quality of our own service. We have paid our fee to register with The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), which can be viewed here . You can also read more on the relationship between private investigators and the ICO in this parliament publication .
If you’d like to discuss licensing and regulation, our internal processes of upholding standards, or anything about our approach to legality, ethics and diligence, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us at PDL here