Licence to Bill: Private Investigators will need papers before offering you their services

by cluckingweb on August 15, 2013

  • SumoMe

Anyone acting as a private detective will now have to hold a licence or cease doing business.

The news comes following a recent announcement by Home Secretary Theresa May and it is thought the new laws will come into effect in England and Wales in the autumn of 2014.

In a statement the Home Office said it wanted to “ensure rigorous standards” in an industry where “rogue investigators” had been infringing privacy.

At the moment it’s perfectly legal for anyone to set themselves up as a private investigator, without any need for any official training and despite any convictions or criminal record – but it seems this is all about to change.

Following this proposed new legislation, private investigators will be licensed by the Security Industry Authority after completing a training course and passing a criminality check.

Anyone found to have carried out actions such as phone hacking, accessing computer data without permission or bribery in the past could be refused a licence and the business forced to shut.

Referring to the new regulations Mrs May said: “It is vital we have proper regulation of private investigators to ensure rigorous standards in this sector and the respect of individuals’ rights to privacy.

“That is why I am announcing the government’s intention to regulate this industry, making it a criminal offence to operate as a private investigator without a licence.

“Anyone with a criminal conviction for data protection offences can expect to have their application for a licence refused.”

Any firm operating without a licence will face a stiff penalty. It’s thought the maximum punishment for doing so could be six months in jail.

Tony Imossi, president of industry body the Association of British Investigators said the proposals were a “good start” but still did not go far enough.

Whereas civil liberties group Big Brother Watch director Nick Pickles, said: “For too long private investigators have been allowed to operate in the shadows.”

The news comes as pressure mounts on the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) to release the names of more than 100 companies and individuals who have been linked to rogue private investigators that have recently been convicted of obtaining information illegally.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, declared: “I have a lot of sympathy with those who say, if there are big companies and organisations that are using private investigators to find information about individuals and organisations, they should be open about it.”

Bio: Lucia writes on behalf of – the very first UK company to be awarded BS 102000 – a standard for investigation companies.

Full time blogger for law, business and education.
  • Adine seto

    In a investigation sometimes investigator needs to check private data like someones personal computer, bank account or something else so in that situation if private investigator have the license then this helps to investigator because other can trust on that investigator.

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