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Investigators and enquiry agents – Licensing and the Future

Investigators and enquiry agents – Licensing and the Future

Tremark Associates directors Mark Hodgson and Karl Brooker were among 100 or so investigators who attended the Association of British Investigators seminar on Friday 21st September which focused on the future of Private and Professional investigations.

ABI president Tony Imossi gave an in-depth breakdown of various events that have lead the profession to where it finds itself today, including the passing of the Security Industry Act in 1991, the News of the World hacking scandal, the Daniel Morgan murder, evidence given at the Leveson inquiry and the recommendations of the Home Affairs Select committees following their inquiry in to Private Investigators.

An interesting question and answer session took place with Steve Eckersley, the new Head of Enforcement at The Information Commissioners Office (ICO) covering topics such as requests for data and information under sections 29 and 35 of the data protection act and the use of necessary and legal pretexts when undertaking investigations.

Attendees also heard from Nick Smith from the Security Industry Authority (SIA), the authority tasked with implementing licensing for investigators following the passing of the Private Security Industry Act in 1991. It became clear that the SIA are still not in a position to implement licensing for investigators and that licensed private investigators are still sometime away as the SIA now await Lord Levesons recommendations to the Home Secretary, before final directions are given. It appears that a further delay is inevitable as changes in the law will be required, considering that the original act states that one of the groups of investigators who are specifically exempt, and do not need to be licensed are those undertaking journalist work!

In the meantime it appears that unprofessional and rouge investigators will be able to continue to practice despite assurances from Steve Eckersley that the ICO have new resources and a task force to specifically weed out Private Investigators not complying with the Data protection act.

Mark Hodgson and Karl Brooker, directors of Tremark Associates are members of The Association of British Investigators, the only professional private investigations association officially endorsed by the legal profession. The Association of British Investigators is endorsed by the Law Society of England and Wales and has achieved Service Provider Scheme Status to the Law Society of Scotland. Click here for more details.

About The Author

Mark Hodgson is the Managing Director of Tremark Associates, one of the UK’s leading providers of investigative services. Mark has 30 years experience in private Investigations and the commercial debt recovery industries. He is Vice President of the Association of British Investigators, a member of the World Association of Detectives, The Institute of Credit Management and an associate member of R3 -The Association of Business Recovery Profession.