Home Secretary Theresa May has today announced that a new system of regulation is to be introduced requiring all investigators to hold a licence in order to practice.
The new regulatory regime will protect the public from rogue investigators who have fallen under increasing scrutiny in recent years for engaging in unscrupulous practices such as blagging and phone hacking.
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 today 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. Journalists will be excluded from regulation to allow them to carry out legitimate investigations in the public interest.”
The control and issuing of licences will be managed by the Security Industry Authority (SIA) in a similar manner as the door supervisors, security guard and CCTV operator licences are currently managed. This means individuals will only be granted a licence if they hold a relevant qualification, confirm their identity and undergo a criminality check.