Back in July 2013, then-Home Secretary Theresa May announced plans to introduce regulation to the private investigation industry. Finally, it was to become a criminal offence to operate as an unlicensed investigator, and customers would be safe from those who could exploit them by setting up a poor quality, or even a fake, investigation agency.
Nearly five years on, and we’re still waiting…
Whatever the reason for the delay, it’s dismaying to a professional investigator to see that there’s still no law stopping absolutely anybody from setting up as a PI. No matter how experienced you may be, or what qualifications you may have, you can just fire up a website (or, even easier, a social media page) and start advertising yourself as someone who can help find lost relatives, check if a partner is cheating, or any other service which can prey on those who are often the most vulnerable.
Of course, all this results in is people spending what little money they may have on a service that is ultimately useless – and it can harm the reputation of more qualified and established PIs too. With no regulation, what’s to say to a first time customer that all private investigators aren’t as bad as the guy who just decided to set up a website on a whim?
There are ways you can tell where an investigator is actually worth your time and money. Look for anyone who references the SIA best practice guidelines – this will ensure they’re following the established code that ensures a quality service.
Also, never accept a demand to pay by cash or personal cheque. These should be massive red flags – why isn’t there a business bank account you can pay? Are they even paying tax?
Finally, read the reviews. And not just quotes that are on a webpage, but reviews hosted independently, that you know can be verified and haven’t just been made up.
At EJM Investigations, offering a reliable and professional service is hugely important to us. Give us a call on 01772 334700 to find out more.