How to become a Detective Agency/Private Investigator

  • Price: £5.99
  • Published: December 2013
  • Type: Business Opportunity Profile
  • Format: PDF
  • What qualifications and skills are required?
  • What are the key market issues and trends?
  • What are the main trading issues?
  • Legislation
  • Further information

A detective agency provides private investigation services to a wide range of clients including individual citizens, commercial organisations such as solicitors, insurance firms, banks and local authorities. Typical areas of investigation include debt recovery, missing persons, marital infidelity and fraud. Detective agency investigators carry out traces, background checks and surveillance, gather photographic, video and audio evidence, take witness statements and serve legal notices. Most detective agencies are run by self-employed private investigators who often subcontract work to one another in order to carry out wider investigations.

Private investigators in England and Wales will be regulated by the Security Industry Authority (SIA) from 2014. (At the time of writing this is subject to ministerial approval and the approval of the Scottish Government and the Department for Justice in Northern Ireland.) Under the new regulatory system individual private investigators will be required to be licensed, and operating without a licence or deploying unlicensed staff will become a criminal offence. The proprietor of a detective agency will also have to apply to the SIA for a Business Licence for the agency. In addition to the statutory regulatory system, the various professional bodies representing the sector also require their members to adhere to strict codes of ethics.

This profile provides information about starting up and running a detective agency. It describes the skills required, the training available, the current market trends and some of the key trading issues. It also identifies some of the main legislation that must be complied with and provides sources of further information.

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