Private Investigators - Home Affairs Committee Contents

Key facts

  • In January 2012, some 2,032 registered data controllers claimed they were operating a business as a private investigator, but industry groups have claimed that as many as 10,000 people are working in the field. No one knows precisely how many private investigators there are in the UK.
  • As many as 65% of private investigators are former police officers.
  • Currently, anyone can undertake private investigative activity regardless of skills, experience or criminality as there is no direct regulation of private investigations.
  • Unscrupulous private investigators are the dealers in an illegal market in personal information, including: bank account details; telephone history; tax information; previous convictions; medical history; and the results of covert surveillance.
  • Fees charged by investigators are opaque and vary enormously, from a small day fee of £250 for small firms or sole operatives, to several thousands of pounds per day for senior investigators, or difficult tasks.
  • Sophisticated surveillance equipment is readily available for sale on the Internet, sometimes for less than £100.

previous page contents next page

© Parliamentary copyright 2012
Prepared 6 July 2012