What does it take to be a pi? The truth is that there are several routes to becoming a good, skilled private investigator, and in all of them, the steps to becoming a private investigator involve a certain kind of training.

Law Enforcement Is A Good Way To Get A Foot In The Door

The first route to the pi profession is to train as a police investigator before beginning to offer professional services as a private investigator. In the UK, a police officer can train to be an investigator via the Professionalising Investigation Programme (“PIP”). PIP’s four Levels would ensure that the investigator is trained and able to carry out investigations of the highest skills and quality level. The Programme is very diverse and would be an excellent background for any future professional investigator.

Route To Getting Law Enforcement

Another route to getting law enforcement experience is training to be a crime scene investigator. This profession would provide you with an insight into handling evidence, surveying the scene and recording the evidence with photo and video equipment, as well as writing reports admissible in court. It will also be a great introduction into forensic sciences if that is the type of a private investigation agency you are looking to open in the future. Being a crime scene investigator would also prepare you for irregular working hours of a private investigator – the CSIs can be called in 24/7, depending on their shifts. Entering this profession would most likely require you to take a forensic sciences course and/or a photography course, both of which are excellent additions to a private investigator’s skill set.

If, however, you already have some law enforcement experience from volunteering or the like, or you come from a military background, you might want to consider entering an investigation institute to train as a private investigator right away. Make sure that the institute is accredited by the SIA and that the qualification would enable you to apply for a private investigator license.


The qualifications offered by the relevant accredited organizations would include law-related courses, surveillance training and training for fraud. Some of them might also offer an insight into the industry with PI-related publications, or journals, from which you can learn how much does a private investigator actually get paid on average, the sort of clientele you might encounter and other business nuances.

Most law-related courses mentioned above include an introduction into what is a private investigator allowed to do on the job legally, an introduction into the UK’s court procedures because a private investigator would normally provide process serving services and act as an expert witness, and an insight into the occupation’s regulations which would be useful if you want to set up your own firm.

Surveillance Training

Surveillance training is very important because surveillance is one of the most popular services amongst our private detectives’ customers, and it is important to know the skills and techniques involved. The same applies to fraud training – many customers hire PIs to investigate suspicions of fraud in their commercial organizations; alternatively, if you are hoping to run an agency focussing exclusively on insurance fraud, this type of training is very important.