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 by the Autumn of 2014.
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, would also be 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.
Who & What Is In Scope?
Amongst private investigators, there will be no distinction made between directly employed and sub-contracted services.
The latest information from the SIA would indicate that Insurers and Claims staff will not be in scope and there are other exclusions such as solicitors who will not require a licence.
The precise content of accreditation standards is yet to be fully defined as is the geographical scope of the bill.
How Are We Preparing?
We fully support the Government proposals for regulation and have been fully engaged throughout the Home Office consultation. We have mobilised a specialist in house training team who are responsible for ensuring all of our staff have the necessary knowledge to achieve accreditation.
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.
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.