Becoming a private investigator in the UK involves undergoing training accredited by the Security Industry Authority (“SIA”), followed by applying for a private investigator license. You can study to be a private investigation in the Investigation Academy launched by Association of British Investigators (“ABI”). The qualification offered prepares you for the private investigator exam, enabling you to apply for the license.

ABI’s Private Investigator Industry

The course offered by the Academy provides you with the relevant legal knowledge required for the occupation, and all the training and skills necessary to become an investigator or a detective, such as surveillance and tracing. The later stages would also provide training in forensics and fraud investigations. The Academy is a part of the ABI, and you would need to become a member to be eligible for the benefits provided by it. ABI’s private Investigator industry publications are a very useful benefit of the membership, because they provide an excellent insight into the business and can help you decide what kind of professional private investigation services you want to provide in the future.

Previous Experience

Although it is possible to become an investigator without being a police officer as outlined above, previous experience as such would be very useful for the future. Learning how to become an investigator for the police involves training in crime scene investigations, which includes developing photographic skills required at crime scenes, learning how to collect forensic evidence and fingertips, carry out crime scene examinations and present the evidence gathered in court.

National Investigators’ Exam

Crime scene investigators are different from police investigators. Training as a Police Investigator would enable you to become a detective in the future. The most important part of training is the National Investigators’ Exam, which tests you on your knowledge of relevant law and procedure, and concludes the first stage of police investigator training. This exam is also a prerequisite for attaining Professionalising Investigation Programme (“PIP”) Level Two accreditation.

Professionalising Investigation Programme (“PIP”)

PIP is a professional learning programme which provides you with the skills and knowledge required to conduct highest quality investigations. The four Levels of training identify the key skills necessary for various types of investigations. The complex training also includes law-related training, very important for any investigator, police or private.

The qualifications listed above are generally very useful, even if you lose interest in pursuing a career with the police or a private investigation agency. For example, they can serve as an excellent foundation for learning how to become an investigator for insurance companies. Both Academy of Investigation and PIP include fraud training in their syllabus, which is the most important insurance investigator job requirement. Also, the skills learnt during the training and field experience can also be very useful in becoming an investigator for a law firm. Private investigators and former police investigators have the required knowledge of the law, as well as the skills required by law firms to look into their clientele or for any other reason.