Following the Home Secretary's announcement on 31 July 2013 that the Private Investigation industry will be subject to regulation, the Security Industry Authority (SIA) will be responsible for regulating the industry by way of compulsory licensing of individuals undertaking private investigative activities and this is due to be rolled out in 2015.
In preparation of licensing we have undertaken a significant commitment to support all our directly employed investigative staff to gain the qualification needed to obtain a licence. We have spent over 1700 hours supporting our staff in preparing for the exam to obtain IQ Level 3 Award for Professional Investigators which is the minimum standard required to obtain a Private Investigators Licence.
We are pleased to announce that 250 of our investigators (Fraud, Surveillance, Investigators and Case Managers) have successfully obtained the IQ Level 3 Award for Professional Investigators qualification.
The Private Security Industry Act (PSIA) sets out the licensable activities that fall within the criteria of the regulation. All individuals that fall in scope of the criteria will be required to pass formal examinations, whilst undergoing thorough vetting and background checks before a licence is issued.
Any business providing licensable individuals to supply investigation services under contract are also required to obtain a SIA business license, which will be mandatory from 6 April 2015. The SIA will award business licensing by determining whether the business conforms to the relevant British Standard. The opening date for the application of business licensing is yet to be officially confirmed by the SIA.
We fully support the Government proposals for regulation and have been fully engaged throughout the Home Office consultation. As an initial step, we have recently been independently audited and already operate to the required standard as an organisation to ensure compliance with BS 102000 - code of practice for the provision of investigative services, which is the best current indication of where business accreditation standards will be pitched. Plans are in place to obtain formal accreditation shortly.
Once the Home Office have fully reviewed the defined criteria of the regulation and a timetable of implementation is confirmed, we will be uniquely placed to ensure our staff gain accreditation and business licensing at the earliest possible time, avoiding any potential disruption to the service we provide to our clients.
We feel that regulation is a step in the right direction ensuring companies that deliver investigation services to high ethical standards can be positively recognised within the industry. We continue to operate using a solely employed staff model and remain opposed to the use of zero hour contracts, believing them to be unethical, whilst failing to provide clients with the surety achieved through a fully employed model.