Why RIDING Welcomes Private Investigator Regulation

At RIDING, we welcome Home Secretary Theresa May's announcement that private investigators will be obliged to obtain a licence before operating in the UK, or face prosecution.

As it stands, anyone can call themselves a 'Private Investigator' without having any prior experience or accreditation. Especially since the 'phone hacking scandal and the Leveson Inquiry, private investigators have all been tarred with the same brush in the media. Those, like us, who have always upheld ethics and confidentiality are lumped together with rogues who are PIs in name only.

Rogue investigators use immoral, sometimes illegal, tactics, to obtain information. They impinge on citizens' privacy and take on cases most professional investigators would not touch with a barge pole.

Ours is a largely unregulated profession, and yet it is one that deals with people at their most vulnerable. Our clients are usually at some crisis point in their lives: whether it is divorce, custody, employment disputes or the search for a family member who has gone missing, it is our duty to handle both them and their case with professionalism and respect.

Our agents are registered with the SIA (Security Industry Authority), so we're one step ahead of the thousands of unregistered, unregulated investigators currently plying their trade across the UK.

From next autumn, every company operating private-investigatory services will have to undergo rigorous checks to obtain a licence from the SIA. Those who have previous convictions for Data Protection infringement will be categorically refused a licence.

What is so shocking about last week's news is that at least 102 mainstream businesses such as lawyers and insurance companies have been exposed using rogue private investigators.*

It's about time we sort the wheat from the chaff.

For years now, our profession has been tarnished by unqualified, unlicensed one-man (or woman) bands. From next year, unlicensed PIs will face a possible fine of up to £5,000, or a six-month prison sentence.

Of course, rogue investigators will not just disappear off the planet. But this new legislation will give our profession the prestige it deserves. For over ten years, RIDING agents have been serving clients all across the UK, acting with due diligence and utmost professionalism.

*Source: www.channel4.com/news

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