In all industries you will find professionals, and not so professionals. The problem is trying to weed out the ‘not so professionals’ and avoiding them as your service provider. Often we find out the hard way after being sweet talked over the phone followed by a shoddy job and an extortionate bill slapped across the face. It’s also quite often the case that the cowboy you used has a poor reputation which only comes to light after paying him or her. A lesson learnt the hard way that could have been avoided if you had only just conducted some due diligence.
The building industry has the nifty little platform called “Checkatrade.com” which does the weeding for you, but unfortunately this is not relevant in the investigations industry. The investigations industry does however have a few professional associations, the most well known being the Association of British Investigators (ABI). An investigator who is a member of a professional association has had a strong level of vetting conducted on him or her to ensure the investigator is operating legitimately.
To become a private investigator in the UK, apart from paying £40 for an ICO certificate, all you need to do is say “I am a private investigator”, and you are done. No training required, no license required, no qualifications, no kit, nothing. This is quite a scary thought and unfortunately, people actually do this. This is the definition of a ‘not so professional investigator’ and it is crucial that people seeking investigative service providers avoid the cowboys like the plague, or in more recent times, COVID-19. A not so professional investigator could (and probably would) do something during his or her investigation that could quite easily land you both in court for all the wrong reasons.
The safest, and easiest way to find a reputable and professional investigator is to approach one of the professional associations directly. With the ABI, you will be directed to a trained, local investigator with industry qualifications, experience, insurances, registrations and kit!!! (Some of the kit cowboys use is unbelievable).
If you hadn’t realised, Sentry Investigations are members of the ABI. We take pride in that fact because we operate professionally, legally and in accordance with GDPR requirements (we also have the required kit to do a job). Private investigations are all about the handling and processing of people personal data, and with GDPR in full swing, doing this correctly has never been so important. We can say with confidence that due to our training and levels of experience, we do this correctly. We can also say with confidence that a ‘not so professional’ investigator will not be doing this correctly. That leaves him or her (and the client) wide open for hefty fines or even prosecution. We won’t go into privacy laws today, but we are willing to bet the not so professional investigators regularly break these too.
If you need to a hire a professional and compliant private investigator Birmingham, contact Sentry Investigations. If we are not your first choice, no worries, but please avoid the cowboys. Don’t be swayed solely by price. A dirt cheap PI is dirt cheap for a reason... Remember, approach a professional association directly if you don’t know where to start.