Alternative names: S.I.A Private Investigator, Licenced Private Investigator, Private Detective; PI; Private Eye; Enquiry Agent, Licenced Private Investigator.
Description: UK Private Investigators conduct investigations for clients and prepare reports. They are often involved with legal support work, missing people, debtor traces, process serving, surveillances and more recently forensic science. If you include, “Investigators in the Private Sector”, the industry is estimated to be at least 10,000 strong in the UK with opportunities covering a broad range of specialisms.
Practioners are often self-employed, work alone or in partnerships or companies. PI’s can be co-opted into commercial and industrial organisations. The world of professional investigations is populated by ex Police and Military personnel, but, people from any background can enter the profession. Bailiffs, genealogists, local authority personnel and the like can often perform overlapping duties.
Typical duties: Conduct investigations; surveillances; maintain records; debtor traces; pre-sue reports; field visits; seek missing persons; locate witnesses; take videos or photographs for use as evidence; work undercover to gather specific information; gather information for use in legal proceedings; conduct asset and liability checks; investigate the theft of private or commercial property; provide advice on corporate and personal matters; investigate insurance claims; prepare reports of investigations; interview and take statements from witnesses and suspects.
Personal requirements: A sound character with no criminal convictions that would stop you getting a S.I.A Private Investigator’s License (When they become compulsory in the UK), personal maturity, life skills, business acumen, good communication skills, good observation skills and an ability to accept responsibility.
Career / Qualification: The S.I.A will require a test of competency (A mandatory requirement for the proposed SIA Licence), and will screen out applicants who are not: “Fit and proper people”. Other formal qualifications that include English and Maths and related experience or training are useful.
Entry pathway: To meet the S.I.A’s requirements for a “Test of Competency”, amongst a number of requirements you need to complete an approved and accredited training course. The L3 courses in “Professional Investigations” are the accredited training options approved by the S.I.A. Further training courses linked to private investigator techniques, knowledge and operation are recommended.
The UK PI industry is dominated by small businesses, partnerships and limited companies. Recruitment is haphazard and intermittent. Some franchise opportunities exist (Please contact us directly for direction here). Part time operations / self employment pathways are the “Norm”.
Future prospects: The private sector private investigator can out perform many competing and related professional public sector investigators. A regulated Investigator, with training and experience will find a greater plethora of challenges and career opportunities once licensing is introduced. Expect an increase in work permeating from this sector post licensing.