Where Do Private Investigators Require a License?

Various jurisdictions around the world require that private investigators hold a license. Not all but many. They may also be allowed to carry a sidearm or not, depending on local laws. In these cases, this particular type of private investigator could have been a law enforcement agent in the past. Former spies, military, private militia, bodyguards and security guards would also be individuals who may have needed a license to carry a weapon. All those involved in the professions just mentioned may have required a sidearm to perform their duties.

This, however, is not the case for all private investigators. Many specialize in collarborating with courts and the judicial system have often worked in this industry themselves. Or even in law enforcement, but most likely in a law firm.

Whilst many private investigators investigate criminal activity, most do not have police authority. So in cases where they would need to arrest someone, they would only be able to perform a citizens arrest. In these cases, PIs take detailed notes, and be ready to testify in court. PIs often testify in court regarding any observations made on behalf of their client.

Where do Private Investigators Require a License?

The UK: In 2001 the United Kingdom passed the licensing of private investigators and private investigation firms to the ISA. The Security Industry Authority are the statutory authority responsible for regulating the private security industry in the UK. There have, however, been cutbacks to this agency. Which has resulted in the indefinite halt of licensing new private investigators. Currently, no official government sanctioned organization in the UK licenses private investigators. There are still issues, debates and contention surrounding the issue. The parliament only discussed the issue in 2015, however, a renewal of this practise has yet to be agreed upon.

The United States: Generally speaking, in the US the required licensing of a PI is dependent on the state in which they are located. Depending on the state the requirement of a license can vary in one of three ways:

  • Does not require a license.
  • Requires a city or state business license.
  • Requires several years of experience and licensing-related training, classes and tests.

A significant number of states require both private investigators and agencies to hold a license. Even to the point that every individual PI under an agency’s regulation must hold a license or registrations of their own.

Plenty of other countries vary in terms of their license requirements for private investigators. We will be delving deeper into these in a future article.

If you find yourself in need of a licensed private investigator and their particular set of skills, please feel free to call us. Or simply click on this link to get in contact with one of our team members.

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