Jorge Salgado-Reyes, the PRINCIPLE of Salgado Investigations in Croydon travelled to Birmingham to an important summit of private investigators on Saturday 14th October 2006 organised by the World Association of Professional Investigators (WAPI) following news that a proposed licensing scheme, unveiled by the Home Office more than five years ago and due to be completed this autumn, had been indefinitely postponed.

The scheme was meant to “clean up” the profession by introducing a national qualification and a standard training programme. Reputable private investigators are very concerned about cowboy outfits and therefore welcome legislation to improve the standards which the public receives.

The licensing scheme was part of the Private Security Industry Act, passed in 2001. It has been shelved because the Security Industry Authority, the body set up to implement it, cannot decide what the qualification should entail or exactly who should be covered by it.

Mr Salgado-Reyes, a member of United Kingdom Professional Investigators Network (UKPIN) concurs with the view that it is essentially wrong for people without qualifications or experience to be able to advertise as PI’s. The advice he gives to Croydon residents is to only approach members of reputable professional organisations. Members of the public may need the skills of PI’s for matters such as Tracing, matrimonial surveillance, retail fraud prevention, process serving and many other services. Readers are advised to be aware that a range of skills and specialised equipment are needed for assignments. Also, they need to be aware that when gathering evidence to use, for instance, in custody or divorce cases there are rules that evidence gatherers have to comply with. Employing people who are not properly trained risks tainted results which will not be admissible in a court of law.

Small traders and business people with a need for security and fraud prevention services should also know that it is vital investigations are carried out in a professional manner, to avoid lawsuits from disgruntled employees and customers. The legislation which has to be applied requires a thorough knowledge of legal and court procedures for successful litigation. Otherwise, traders and business people risk losing their investment in security.

Likewise, the fitting of surveillance equipment needs to be done by a properly trained company and may then save its own costs many times over. Improving the security of businesses improves also the security of the community and the environment we all live in by discouraging the criminal element from Croydon’s busy commercial centre.