hire detective london uk

Not all Detective agencies and Private investigators are equal.

A quick guide to Hiring a Detective and Private Investigation Agency (PI)

When considering what private investigator agency to hire it is important to choose wisely as this decision can have a big impact on the outcome of your case. You need a private investigator that will get the job done quickly and discreetly.

People looking to hire a private investigator are usually in a distressing situation and have little advice and guidance for the best course of action. The internet and word of mouth will be the first stages someone will use to try and find some advice regarding their situation.

Problem is the private investigation industry is saturated with rogue operators that have little regard for laws and good practices. Such “investigators” have invested time, money and effort to manipulate search engines to show up their websites on top. With today’s technology, it is easy to impersonate a reputable agency in no time. And with the lack of any regulations and licensing in the investigation sector, anyone that has a website can call themselves detectives and private investigators.

“There are an estimated 10,000 private investigators working in the UK offering services as varied as serving documents, investigating insurance fraud, tracing missing persons, countering intellectual property theft, computer forensics and gathering proof of adultery. Not one of these 10,000 investigators is regulated by the government. Perhaps 20% (or 2,000) have voluntarily submitted to regulation by a peer-reviewed body, but the rest have not.” Source: Law Gazette

Look for credentials

Ask yourself the following questions:

Who is the Principal of the business? What is their experience? What is their credentials? Do they have indemnity insurance? Are they regulated by a peer-reviewed body? Are they notified with the Information Commissioner? Do they have an Edexcel accreditation? Have they passed their Criminal Records Bureau checks? Do they receive ongoing training in the latest technologies and techniques? Are they solvent and their staff were experienced at giving evidence in court?

Services provided

Private investigators provide a variety of services from serving legal documents to investigating burglaries. The issue is one agency cannot provide all the services themselves and every agency will have to sub-contract another agency at some point during their operation. This is quite common and ourselves have sub-contracted other agencies many times in the past without any issues.

However, while Bravo Investigations subcontracts only to peer-reviewed detective and investigation agencies member of a reputable Association such as the Association of British Investigators (ABI), rogue operators who are not members of the ABI don’t have to abide by such ethics. Therefore, while they may look legit initially it will be impossible for the client to ascertain with certainty who is actually going to conduct the investigation and handle the case. As far as we are concerned,  it may be someone’s uncle Ron who’s just been released from prison and needs some quick cash. Can you afford to take the risk of hiring a rogue private investigator?

Case studies and testimonials

Private investigation agencies rely on their reputation and word of mouth to gain new clients and for recurring business. Look for genuine satisfied customers testimonials to make an impression on the level of service and professionalism.

Case studies are a great way to ascertain the capabilities of an agency but be aware of situations that are copied from Sherlock Holmes book stories. Don’t forget the saying “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t“.


The private investigation industry continues to be unregulated until the government will fully implement the Private Security Industry Act 2001 with private investigators continuing to offer their services unlicensed.

Bravo Investigation has taken the all the necessary steps to comply with the industry best practices for data protection and licensing of private investigators. Our private investigators are holders of EDI Level 3 in Professional Private Investigator which the Security Industry Authority (SIA), has announced it is sufficient to meet licensing requirements when these will come into force.

In addition, our staff is vetted to BS 7858 for security personnel which is above and beyond the industry standards. This is because we are part of Bravo Security Limited, a security company that is regulated by the Security Industry Authority (SIA). The SIA requires staff to be vetted and licensed in order to work in the security industry. Working without an SIA license is a criminal offence.

Bravo Security Limited also holds Safe Contractor status approved for the provision of security guards and private investigations, an innovative standard in Health & Safety for private investigations which is probably unique in the United Kingdom.

For more information and to discuss your case in complete confidence contact our office today and we will guide you through the process ethically.