It is a shadowy grey area for private investigations and the law at the moment, and has been for some time.
Ex-Prime Minister Theresa May said when she was the Home Secretary ‘It is vital we have proper regulation of private investigators to ensure rigorous standards in this sector and the respect of individuals’ rights to privacy’ but not much has been done since.
Now, the public sector such as MI5 and the Police are governed by what is known as RIPA (Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000) which is the law that looks after surveillance and investigations and it is pretty stringent in its chapters around covert human intelligence sources.
However, RIPA 2000 does not count towards the private sector so no matter how much an investigations company say ‘we abide by RIPA’ it is pretty fruitless to be honest.
Yes, it is good to operate within the boundaries of RIPA, but it is not fit for the private sector.
Why is it not fit? Solely because the private sector is too big to police and there are so many sub-sectors to it. It isn’t just surveillance or background checks we as PI’s do, you know! We can get involved in cases in so many varying ways such as acting as an enquiry agent to locate documents or CCTV footage and even conducting physical penetration tests to check on security measures at certain locations. Staff at Delta 74 Private Investigations carried one of these out at a large university not too long ago!