ABI Academy Learners and Delegates

Private Investigator School UK

Delegates and Learners

The Association of British Investigators is sector accredited by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency and is endorsed by the Law Society of England and Wales who recognise the A.B.I as the premier professional body for private investigators working in the UK and beyond: "A non-profit organisation, its national and international membership provides credibility and due diligence". The A.B.I is also an approved supplier to the Law Society of Scotland, who acknowledge: "Its national and international membership provides the only credible list of accredited operatives".

The Security Industry Authority explained that Business Licencing for the UK's Private Investigators was their preferred route back in 2013 (The "Second Tier of Licencing") and will, subject to review, require Private Investigators to obtain ACS (Approved Contractor Scheme), status.

The second tier of licencing or Business Licences for Private Investigators will be based on existing (Draft) British Standards and Association of British Investigator and other trade bodies mandatory qualification requirements to demonstrate professionalism, competence, probity and ethics.





Licence Chronology




The Security Industry Authority published their Impact Assessment of Regulations to implement the Private Security Industry Act 2001 in respect of Private Investigators on: Friday, 25th July 2008


“Private investigators will have to prove they are fit to practise before being licensed, the Home Office has decided after publishing its long awaited verdict on how to regulate the industry”


The Home Affairs Select Committee announces their inquiry into Private Investigators on: Tuesday, 29th November 2011

Investigators call for licensing: “Private investigators have told the Leveson Inquiry into media ethics they want a statutory-backed licensing system”. (BBC News Thursday, 2nd February 2012)

The Home Affairs Select Committee take oral evidence from: Lynne Featherstone (Member of Parliament) on: Tuesday, 22 May 2012:

Q: “Let us now go to private investigators. You are the Minister responsible. Why are private investigators still unregulated after 11 years since the passing of the Act”

Lynne Featherstone: “Right. I can’t comment on why they were not regulated under the last Government. I am sure the wider population would be surprised to find that private investigators are not licensed. Since we came into Government, the first order was around the stage we had reached in terms of becoming a very developed and mature Security Industry Authority, so I would say absolutely ready to licence. However, the Coalition, when it came in, had a broader remit in terms of regulation itself and we had to wait until the regulation picture became clearer. Of course now we are just waiting for Leveson and indeed your inquiry to conclude, because there is some crossover, and we will go ahead as soon as those inquiries do conclude. Leveson concludes in-October, is it?”

“October, yes”

Lynne Featherstone: “Okay. Well, we can get on with it as soon as Leveson completes”.


The Home Affairs Select Committee published its report on Private Investigators on: Friday, 6th July 2012


Leveson completed on: Thursday, 29th November 2012 (Without any reference to Private Investigators!!).


The “Code of Practice for the Provision of Investigative Services finished its public consultation on: 31st May 2013


It codifies: "The conduct, management, staffing and operational accountability for the provision of investigative services"...
...in line with recommendations made by the Home Affairs Select Committee.... Private Investigators will need to comply with: British Standard: BS 102000. This introduces a Code of Practice and a framework of best practice (Complaints procedures, insurances, staff screening, due diligence on clients, etc). A large part of BS 102000 is concerned with conducting investigations, professionally, lawfully and ethically.

The Secretary of State (T. May), published the Governments response to the Home Affairs Select Committee of 6th June 2012....


A simple 12 page document published on Wednesday, 31st July 2013 gave the "Green Light" for the Licencing and Regulation of UK Private Investigators to begin in Autumn 2014


Home Office Minister Lord Taylor, on: 30th June 2014, said: "The Government expects the regulations to license the activity of private investigations to come into force in 2015".


Recommendation 10 of the Security Industry Authority Review 2016/17 gives a revised licencing direction


Private  Investigators should be treated as businesses and subject to the revised Approved Contractor Scheme system of standards. The SIA will need to work with the PI industry on a suitable set of standards and implementation timetable.


The Security Industry Authority update on the Review of the Approved Contractor Scheme published in January 2018


Business licensing or mandatory ACS "Cements" the direction of private investigator licences.

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