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SIA Licencing for Private Investigators


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The Government recently stated that all Private Investigators will be required to be licenced by the SIA Autumn 2014. [Amednment: now read Spring 2015]

The Level 3 Award for Professional Investigators is based on the SIA specifications for core competency training for Private Investigators.

Licencing for PI’s is still ‘work in progress’ but the government has stated that Private Investigators will have to be licenced by Autumn 2014. [Amednment: now read Spring 2015]. The SIA requirements to obtain a licence are:-

Demonstrate identity
Have a clean criminal record
Have a Level 3 Award in Professional Investigation

Any previous qualifications that are security or investigative related will not be accepted by the SIA. You will still need the Level 3 Award. However, if you feel competent or experienced, you will be permitted to just sit the assesment test. However, the training provider may be required to complete a 'Previous Learning Map', which is a document that evidences your previous experience.

It will cost £220.00 for a licence. £110 if you already have an SIA licence for another sector.

The Level 3 Award has to be accredited by EDI or Qi accrediting bodies. It is a 39 hour training course. Unless you go down the Distance Learning route.

Who Needs a Licence?

This is an excerpt from the SIA website.....

According to the Act you will need an SIA licence if you are involved in any surveillance, inquiries or investigations that are carried out for the purposes of:

obtaining information about a particular person or about the activities or whereabouts of a particular person; or
obtaining information about the circumstances in which, or means by which, property has been lost or damaged.

Anyone involved in providing contracted private investigation services will require a licence. This includes employees, employers, managers, supervisors and directors or partners of private investigation companies. It is unclear if the Home Office will also wish us to regulate 'in-house' private investigations.

Now, the above is subject to interpretation and one of the key points is 'contracted private investigation services'. If you are not offering a contracted PI service, you would not need to be licensed (such as a CPO conducting protective surveillance or a store guard following a suspect shoplifter), for which they should be licensed anyway in their own sector.


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