UK to ban private investigation without a license



Note that there’s to be an exemption for investigative journalism.

This follows a major criminal investigation into several PI agencies who were committing serious crimes in the process of snooping on their subjects – crimes for which several of their employees are now doing prison time.

Requiring a criminal background record check, and evidence that a private eye has done a basic course in what they are and are not legally allowed to do, before they can sell their services doesn’t sound too onerous to me.

The devil, of course, may be hidden in the detail when the final legislation emerges …


It is vital we have proper regulation of private investigators to
ensure rigorous standards in this sector and the respect of
individuals’ rights to privacy.

Says the person who proposed this.

So. No citizens investigating anything?
And if you happen to be particularly perspicacious and attentive, no looking around and listening to things either.

Do NOT challenge the government’s monopoly on unwarranted and invasive snooping into people’s private affairs.

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I called the friend of a girl who ran off on me without paying her cab fare pretending to be a private investigator knowing it would get back to her and scare her. It was true in the sense that I was a private individual investigating the theft.

Licensing sounds reasonable as long as the prerequisites for obtaining a license are fair and the fees are not excessive.

No: citizens can investigate on their own all they like. This is about working as a commercial private investigator for money.


Seems better too have a registered investigator then one of those discount no frills fly by night type of investigators.

I could be wrong, but I believe most American states require licensing, and I haven’t actually heard any complaints. But I am not the Governor of Nebraska.

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But how is Miss Marple going to afford a license on her pension?

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Am I missing something? How does said law prevent people from breaking other existing crimes? Is this just another law to slap onto charges, to make it “really, extra, extra, we’re serious this time, illegal”?

Unless they make it very difficult and expensive to get licensed, I can’t imagine how this could prevent people from committing other crimes whilst they are performing “private detective” services. Short of creating a screening process for assholes or criminals who don’t have a record yet, this feels like a pretty hollow change.

(that said, the U.S. requires licenses like this in many areas already)

The government, as always, hates competition.

Though I’m a little baffled that they allowed PIs to operate without licenses up to now.

I’m not sure why this is news except that there had been no regulations before over there. In the US, all states control private investigation licenses, which are required for commercial work. Haven’t you ever read a mystery novel where Marlowe or Spade or Wolfe or whoever is threatened by the police with loss of license? You typically need time in the police, as a MP, or experience as an employee of another licensed PI before you an get a license for yourself, but of course the rules vary by state.

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Ah yes, technical correctness in the face of a hyperbolic statement meant to highlight the rather lax attitude to civil rights the current UK government pursues.
You are right. But I still hold fast to my philosophy of attritive douchebaggery.

Free for pensioners same as the TV licence.

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