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So you want to be a private investigator?

The Institute of Professional Investigators has produced an advice booklet for people considering setting up as private investigators.

The booklet, Becoming a Private Investigator, begins with the premise that the reader has no background in the profession. It recommends that, in that case, the start point is to “seek training”.


The booklet says: “A prospective investigator should consider legal training, and/or training in business. Both areas supplement the training that an investigator needs, and will add to your personal skills list irrespective of your success in finding work in this area. Local colleges can be consulted about this form of training.”

The booklet goes on to explain the kinds of organisations that will employ a private investigator, as well as individuals.
For those looking to emulate the likes of Hercule Poirot it has this advice: “Don’t expect adventure and excitement. This is not a romantic profession, but it is an interesting one.”

On the subject of licensing there is a word of warning. “The Private Security Industry Act 2001 will shortly impose licensing requirements on investigators providing their services to clients on a contracted basis. Such licences are likely to be issued only to persons with clear police records.

“It will therefore be incumbent upon any licence applicant that he, or she has no relevant prior convictions.”
Needless to say, the institute is keen to encourage professional investigators to consider membership.

“Membership of the Institute of Professional Investigators can be achieved in a number of ways. 

Affiliate: Available to new investigators over 18 years of age who wish to progress along the academic route to full membership. The requirement is that an affiliate must complete or start that progression within three years of the award of affiliate membership, subject to agreement by the institute board that an extension be permitted.

Associate: Available to investigators of six years experience who have no personal requirement to progress along the educational route to full membership.

Member: Membership of the institute is awarded to investigators of three years experience, over 18 years, who have achieved NVQ Level 4 in investigation; the City and Guilds qualification; or who have satisfied the admissions committee that they have equivalent qualifications and/or experience that merits the award of membership.

Fellow: Awarded to members of the institute who have satisfied the conditions regarding award of fellowship. This can be achieved by academic qualification outside the institute or through submission of a thesis on an investigatory subject that is considered by the institute’s thesis committee to be of sufficient standard to merit that award."

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Last Updated on Monday, 24 May 2010 12:57