The World Association of Professional Investigators (WAPI) attended the SIA Conference with the agenda being; Commitment to Regulation on 12 October 2011 at Sheffield. This event focused on developing proposals for the new regulatory regime being planned by the SIA, Security Industry Authority. The below announcement focuses on the conference suggestions and reaction by a leading member in WAPI.
The World Association of Professional Investigators (WAPI) attended the SIA Conference - Commitment to Regulation on 12 October 2011 at Sheffield. This event focused on developing proposals for the new regulatory regime being planned by the SIA Security Industry Authority.
So far as the Investigator Sector is concerned, Baroness Ruth Henig, Chair, SIA, stated in her opening address to the conference; "The SIA have been asked to give a report to the Levinson enquiry to review the feasibility of licensing the Private Investigator Sector. There are also sectors of the industry where we have not yet reached our goal."
Ruth added "One of the most important of these is Private Investigations. This is a sector that I would like to see included in the new regime for the protection of the public and I know that many in the sector want regulation to be introduced. We had made preparations for licensing PIs, but this work was stopped because of the uncertain future of the SIA at that time. We have been required to give evidence on private investigators to the Levinson Inquiry and we will review private investigations and the feasibility of regulating this sector as we develop our plans."
The full speech is available on the SIA Site at http://www.sia.homeoffice.gov.uk/pages/about-stakeholder-conference.aspx
It was also indicated that the SIA are putting forward proposals to continue as a New Regulatory Body, and that Business Licenses, not just the ACS scheme will be the focus.
All business that operate within the licensed sector will be required to be licensed. The SIA stated that they are looking towards 2014 when it will be an offence to trade as a business within the licensed sector without being registered, and it would appear that the criteria for this will be quite stringent.
- No HMRC issues
- No PAYE issues
- No company accounts filing issues
- No Criminal Convictions
- No prior bankruptcy issues or liquidation issues
- No CCJ's
UK & EU Regulation and Press Governing Member of the World Association of Private Investigators, Ian Withers said of the speech "This is beyond ridiculous. It must be obvious that a Government Authority cannot legally deny employment on the basis of unpaid taxes or indeed historic debt Issues. This will be undoubtedly be challenged at great cost to the taxpayers. After all, some of the UK's most successful Businesses and Businessmen have risen from the ashes of previous financial disasters."
Ian continued "It was also stated at the SIA Conference that the SIA are not currently looking at licensing in-house operators. This is surely where the crux of the current problem lies, did not the Murdoch Group employ an In-house Investigator who hacked all the phones? It was not professional private investigators, was it not so-called information brokers who "blagged" personal data? It was not Professional Private Investigators."
Clearly the moves by the SIA and suggestions are not welcomed by one of the leading associations in the private investigator industry, an infuriated Mr Withers also went on to make suggestions that would fit more with WAPI members thoughts "As one pundit once said, keep it simple stupid, The Certificated Bailiff System has worked well for a century or more, Why spend millions through the Quango that is the SIA, to re-invent the wheel for a second time?
From 2000 to 2010 the SIA cost the Taxpayer millions, and other than generating revenue through selective Sector license fees, to help pay their hordes of so-called Consultants and Executives substantial salaries and fees, completely failed to even start to regulate the Investigation Sector. I suggest and urge all in our Sector to lend their support to our Proposals to regulate the Sector by means of County Court Certification. Is it now time for a positive and indeed re-assuring step to be taken by the Government?
Given the recent high profile publicity surrounding the Media and their use of Private Detectives to allegedly hack into voicemail and to "blag" personal data" and taking into consideration the Information Commissioner's Report "What Price Privacy". Namely to consider the transfer from the Private Security Industry Act 2000 the planned regulation of Private Investigators to the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 thereby putting the regulation of private Investigators under the same criteria as that of Enforcement Officers.
This would enable the Public to be re-assured that Certificated Investigators were regulated, were competent and accountable, and as any infringement of controlling and other legislation may cause their Certification to be suspended or cancelled, an immediate ethical and legally compliant Profession would evolve to the benefit of Society.
I would seek and indeed urge all MP's most of whom have been as shocked as the Public at the horrifying disclosures from the Murdoch News Corporation to support the World Association of Professional Investigators and the vast majority of genuine practicing professional Private Investigators to urgently introduce a simple and well tried system of regulation though the Certification system, self financing from Application and Certification Certificate Fees and Renewal Fees."
Until the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 those wishing to become a Bailiff could apply to a County Court to become "Certificated" to do so they would need to satisfy the Judge that they were of good and suitable character, had undergone appropriate training and/or had proven experience to be deemed as competent. There is a Certificated Bailiff Register which allows both Public and Police to find out which county court issued a certificated bailiff's latest certificate.
The following legislation has been in place since the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007
2007 c. 15 - Part 3 - Chapter 1- Section 64
The position appears to be as follows - Note: Bailiffs are now referred to as Enforcement Agents:
S 64 Certificates to act as an enforcement agent
(1) A certificate may be issued under this section-
(a) by a judge assigned to a county court district;
(b) in prescribed circumstances, by a district judge.
(2) The Lord Chancellor must make regulations about certificates under this section.
(3) The regulations may in particular include provision;
(a) for fees to be charged for applications;
(b) for certificates to be issued subject to conditions, including the giving of security;
(c) for certificates to be limited to purposes specified by or under the regulations;
(d) about complaints against holders of certificates;
(e) about suspension and cancellation of certificates;
(f) to modify or supplement Schedule 12 for cases where a certificate is suspended or cancelled or expires;
(g) requiring courts to make information available relating to certificates.
A relatively simple change to the applicable statutes (Security Industry Act 2000 and Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007) could enable UK Private Investigators to become "Certificated" through the County Court System (and equivalent in Scotland).
Self Financing = Cost to the Public Purse - Negligible - Re-assurance to the Public = Priceless
Complying with EU Directives and requirements to professionalize specified occupations for cross-border recognition of skills and the promotion of cross-border recognition of qualifications towards the EU wide immigration policy.
In summary the debate and suggestions continue to rage on, for more information on WAPI please visit http://www.wapi.com.