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Private Eyes Around the world

Many jurisdictions require PIs to be licensed, and depending on local laws, they may or may not carry a firearm, some are former law enforcement agents (including former police officers), some are former spies, some are former military, some used to work for a private military company, and some are former bodyguards and security guards, although many are not. While PIs may investigate criminal matters, most do not have police authority, and as such they are only limited to the powers of citizen’s arrest and detainment that any other citizen has. They are expected to keep detailed notes and to be prepared to testify in court regarding any of their observations on behalf of their clients. Great care is required to remain within the scope of the law, otherwise the investigator may face criminal charges. Irregular hours may also be required when performing surveillance work.

Private investigators in Australia must be licensed by the licensing authority relevant to the State they are located in. This applies to all States except the Australian Capital Territory. Companies offering investigation services must also hold a business licence and all their operatives must hold individual licences. Generally the licences are administered and regulated by the State Police; however, in some states, this can also be managed by other government agencies.

To become registered in New South Wales, you will require a CAPI licence which you can apply for through the NSW Police Force Website. The Australian Capital Territory does not require Private Investigators to be licensed, although they are still bound by legislation. A PI working in the ACT can not enter the NSW area without a CAPI license or else they will be in breach of the law.

In 2001, the government passed the licensing of private investigators and private investigation firms in UK and Wales over to SIA (Security Industry Authority act), who acted as the regulatory body from then on. However, due to the cutbacks of this SIA, licensing of private investigators in the UK was halted indefinitely. As of the moment there are no governmental backed authorities in the UK to license private investigators.

The SIA have announced that Private Investigators in the UK are to become licenced for the first time from May 2015. However, at this time this is only the scheduled date for the issue to be discussed in parliament. In December 2014, Corporate Livewire produced an article written by a UK Private Investigator at BAR Investigations, addressing the issues surrounding private investigation in the UK.