Overview of the UK S.I.A Private Investigators licence
In the Private Security Industry various sectors have already been licenced such as: Manned guards, Door supervisors, Close protection operatives, Public space surveillance (CCTV) operators and Security guards by the Security Industry Authority. The S.I.A is the organisation responsible for this regulation and reports to the Home Secretary.
The Security Industry Authority has a series of objectives which cover these professions and the Private Investigator sector, such as: "Providing services and standards to their customers", "Delivering regulatory activities effectively and efficiently", "Delivering a development programme that continues effective regulation of the private security industry" and "To be recognised internally and externally as a model of good practice".
As Licensing for Private Investigators is a government priority in the UK. The following indices can be drawn from existing literature:
Although Private Investigator licences and the requirement for a business licence are still subject to Ministerial approval, the momentum is there and a whole new world of regulation, inspection and bureaucracy is coming.
A typical S.I.A Licence costs: £220.00 and lasts for 3 years. To get the S.I.A Private Investigator licence you need to pass the, "Fit and Proper person" tests and need to have successfully completed a, "Test of Competency", such as The Association of British Investigators Training Academy: IQ Level 3 Award for Professional Investigators or the BTEC Professional Investigators, costing around: £300.00 - £400.00.
Please note that the Draft British Standard for the Provision of Investigative Services recommends that the competence necessary to complete an investigation has been demonstrated by the supplier of the services: Conducting investigations, conducting interviews, searching for information and preserving evidence, surveillance techniques, understanding and working to relevant laws and standards and the ability to report findings…the syllabus of the Level three Awards....
The rush amongst Investigation companies to gain as much kudos and credibility as possible by attaing, "Voluntary”, Kite marks, such as: British Standard 102000, has abated and "Self regulation", is, now, the order of the day. The organisations and businesses that wish to bid for government contracts have enroled on the Approved Contractor Scheme (ACS) - involving eligibility checks, an assessement conducted by an external body and hefty annual registration fees.
Please note that in Northern Ireland some of the criteria for assessing convictions are: "Conflict related". All applications are actually assessed on an individual basis and the decision is specific to each licence type. The SIA licensing system decision is open to appeal.
In order to apply for a licence you must have the right to work in the UK but you do not have to be a British Citizen.
With your licence you can begin your journey as an investigator, but, only experience, continual training and luck will ensure you make a successful profitable, career in the sector.
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