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PI code of practice revised

BSI, the business standards company, has revised its code of practice for the provision of investigative services, BS 102000. In 2012, the Home Affairs Select Committee conducted an enquiry into the role of private investigators, and the risks around the lack of regulation in the sector. To support this policy, BSI published BS 102000 in 2013, to direct any investigator in how to show that they have the necessary competence and approach.

This year BSI convened people from across the security sector to assist in a revision of BS 102000, to bring it in line with recent technological developments; thus accommodating a wider audience of users outside of the private investigators sector who undertake investigations, such as Human Resources, corporate governance and in-house investigation departments, besides the sector bodies Association of British Investigators (ABI) and the Institute of Professional Investigators (IPI). Investigative activity occurs in many operations: surveillance, criminal, fraud, security clearance and personal background checking, insurance, computer and forensics.

The review, and revision of the standard, has looked at several factors: more use of more sophisticated surveillance technologies, data mining and more reliance on social media, for extracting information. It also makes recommendations on the appropriate conduct, management, staffing and operational accountability for the provision of investigative services.

BS 102000 is specifically designed to provide a broad set of procedures to assist any investigative provider in adhering to industry best practice. It also draws attention to case management procedures, data handling and the regulations as well as the employment practices applicable to the investigation. As private investigators need to collect evidence in the course of their work, they now also need to be aware of the rules against ‘entrapment’ and the protections offered under the Human Rights Act, when seeking to conduct investigations and interviews.

This standard also recommends how an organisation can demonstrate that it has the financial and operational resources available to provide the services being offered, also that it is competent and provides recourse in the event of a complaint.

Anne Hayes, Head of Governance and Resilience at BSI, said: “It is still possible today for anyone to simply claim that they are an investigator, charge you what they want and gain access to your confidential information. Therefore, it is in the interest of the trustworthy professionals, service providers and procurement specialists, to be able to differentiate themselves from the rogue operators, by conforming to the recommendations highlighted in this revised code of practice.”


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