The Home Office is to introduce a new system of regulation for private investigators. Operating as an unlicensed private detective is soon to become illegal in England and Wales, announced the Home Secretary on Wednesday 31st July.
The SIA (Security Industry Authority) will grant all private investigator licenses. Only when an applicant has successfully completed all the relevant training and qualifications, confirmed their identity and undergone a thorough criminality check will they be given their license.
The current system is unregulated, allowing anyone to work as a private investigator, regardless of their skills, experience or criminal convictions. The new law seeks to protect the public.
The maximum penalty for working as an unlicensed private investigator or supplying unlicensed investigators will be a fine of £5,000 and up to 6 months in prison.
The regime is to be rolled out as quickly as possible with the new law expected to take effect autumn 2014.