Private Investigators

Written Evidence submitted by Steve Bishop [PI 11]

When Molly Meacher was the Chairperson of the SIA she envisaged the Security Industry becoming part of the police family. A properly trained, regulated and licensed professional investigator would be of immense value to the police because if they could be relied upon to obtain evidence fairly, evidence that would withstand scrutiny under s78 PACE, then they could be used to undertake investigations on behalf of the police. There is, in my personal opinion, a huge amount of work carried out by the police which could be hived off to professional investigators. Their files of properly obtained, properly presented evidence could then be handed to the police for arresting, interviewing and charging of the suspect. A great deal of police time is taken up intelligence gathering, carrying out surveillance, taking statements and preparing files, all of which could be achieved by licensed and regulated but non warranted investigators. Indeed, more than 66% of the investigators working in the Major Investigation Team in which I am a manager are non warranted officers. We have, since workforce modernisation over 2 years ago, investigated over 30 murders balancing enquiries accordingly between warranted and non warranted officers. Indeed, on occasions we have contracted in investigators from the private company G4S to carry out enquiries on major incidents. Although these are all ex police officers who have been through vetting again since their retirement, they are essentially professional Private Investigators . We are one of only a handful of forces that have opted for this approach to major crime investigation but other forces still use warranted officers to carry out functions capable of being carried out by non warranted officers. The police are stretched to the limit and with further cuts looming that is unlikely to improve in the near future. Would it not fit in with David Cameron's philosophy if more work could be undertaken by professional private investigators, going therefore from a public service to a private service. The only caveat would be of course that the investigators should be properly trained, vetted and regulated. My only other recommendation would be to give these investigators some sort of limited access to certain police records which could be achieved through a Central SPOC. This would alleviate the need for investigators to even consider obtaining some of the most basic details unlawfully.


January 2012

Prepared 13th March 2012