Being able to separate the good from the bad when it comes to private investigators is pivotal to anyone looking to hire one.

Historically, hiring an effective and successful private investigator was a fairly straightforward process; you would search online, communicate with the investigator and identify your objectives.

However, nowadays, there is estimated to be around 10,000 private investigators working in the UK, all offering services as varied as serving documents, investigating insurance fraud, tracing missing persons, countering intellectual property theft, computer forensics and gathering proof of adultery. What’s shocking about this figure is that not one of these 10,000 investigators is regulated by the government. Around 20% (2,000) have voluntarily submitted to regulation by a peer-reviewed body, but the rest have not.

So who do pick when presented with an overwhelming number of search results?

ABI (Association of British Investigators) member

Being a member of the Association of British Investigators (ABI) means you have to undergo a criminal records bureau and financial probity check, pass an entrance examination and prove your competence, along with having professional indemnity insurance’ Agents are also regulated by the ABI code of practice and disciplinary code.

Therefore, an ABI membership should surely be a prerequisite when selecting the right private investigator for your needs.

When hiring a private investigator, there are no benefits to scrimping. If you want the job done correctly, professionally and accurately, it’s important to conduct research. Opt for an investigator who is governed by a professional body, has a high success rate and has been in the industry for at least a couple of years.


The success of a good private investigator relies heavily on word of mouth. Testimonials are great for gaining an insight into the service and support that has been provided to the client and can be extremely useful tools when deciding on your chosen private investigator.


Established in 2017 doesn’t necessarily mean they have no experience, but it’s not worth second guessing. Ask what experience they have in the field you are enquiring about, find out how many years they have worked in private investigation and what their specialist’s areas are.


A good private investigator will have the appropriate insurances to protect you and them, should anything happen during the course of the investigation. Don’t be afraid to ask to see their insurance policy and ask how much they are insured for.

Finding the right PI shouldn’t be a stressful time if you take onboard the advice above, do your research and use your judgement.