Hiring A “Real Private Investigator” in British Columbia

March 11, 2012 at 11:17 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

One of the greatest issues that the investigative field must deal with today is the licensing program for private investigators that is operated by the Provincial Government.  A few years ago they changed the method in which investigators are licensed.  Namely, unlike the old days where an applicant had to apply under the auspices of a legitimate company, today they apply under their own name.  The requirements are minimal – 19 yrs. of age, no criminal record, and …. thats about it.  Somewhere in there is a statement about taking training and working 2400 hrs. before they can be licenced without supervision.  There is no interview, no check as to mental stability and certainly no background as to ability to perform the tasks required of an investigator.

What has this resulted in – a bunch of inexperienced, incompetent, dangerous and “know it all” types.  They carry that licence on themselves without the company (or companies) they contract to or work for having any input into their independent activities.  In the last month alone I interviewed an individual that was licenced here and in Alberta as an ‘investigator under supervision’.  HOWEVER, this bright light had decided to print out business cards showing he was a ‘RISK MANAGER’.  During the interview he promoted himself as a business.  I asked him if he carried the Errors and Liability insurance we are legislated to do;  I asked him if he had a business licence – knowing full well that his individual license would not allow him to, I asked him if he was a proprietor or a corporation (I admit to being devilish here).  He had no idea what I was talking about.  But he was out and about promoting himself.  To the consumers they would have no way of knowing whether this person was legitmiate or not.

The second recent episode was a young woman that, mistakenly, thought she had gathered enough information to be an investigator  to be promoting herself on line because she had taken the Justice Institute Course in Enforcement.   She was fully aware that her license was ‘UNDER SUPERVISION’ and yet she as recently as February 2012 listed her phone number in a number of online ads as “personal investigations’ – retainer required.  She also listed as a para-legal and promoted her services to the general public.  Neither of these services can be promoted by herself independently – she has to work under supervision.   There is a reason that people are placed under supervision – it is so they can learn the profession – either as a legal assistant or as an investigator.

These people are a hindrance to the professionalism of this job and they are a danger to the public.  They do not have the resources, contacts, ability or professionalism and in many cases discreetness to carry out any investigation.  They are mistaken and misguided to think that they have the ability to perform a job that many qualified full licence investigators have trained for, studied for and still do professional training.  The question is what does Security Programs, teh licensing body of the government do about it.  Well they have inspectors that investigate the complaints and provide some kind of reprimand – they do post the outcomes on their website. But the public does not know about this – CHECK THE PIS OUT.

So here are a few of my thoughts; TO THE GOVERNMENT OF  B.C.

1. Make licensing harder – do a background check, credit check – stop the abuse of consumers

2. Interview the applicant – they did that 20 years ago.

3. Verify what type of work they are going to do.

4. Check out their qualifications


1. Report these individuals when they cross your path

2. Petition for reform within the industry – you know its not working the way it is.

3. Petition for stricter regulation of the ‘under supervision” licenses

4. Do not encourage this kind of thinking by not supervising the “under supervision” staff

5. Encourage higher level training for all professionals in the field


1. Don’t just take the business card as ID.  Ask them for a copy of their BUSINESS LICENCE.  Go to their office and see – it is required to be posted on the wall visibly.

2. Ask them how many years experience they have in the field.

3. Ask them their background.  Just because you were a police person does not make you the best p.i.  Ask what their experience is in personal investigations.

4. Ask for references! No good pi will refuse this!  If they tell you something about their clients wanting to stay private – that is nonsense.  A good pi always has some clients that will reference for him/her.

5. Ask them how they bill; do they cap the billing; are you required to sign a contract; do you get a copy of the contract.  There should be no hesitation here.

6.  A good pi is a slogger;  gimmicks are just that – gimmicks!

Don’t be swayed by fancy talk about gps trackers, cameras, etc. – this is all going to cost you.  Remember a good pi will develop a plan that will fit your budget and all your considerations!

On a personal note I am tired of the lack of professionalism in this profession.  It is a hard job that requires multiple skills and abilities!  The industry needs to start fighting for the professional status that is due to it!



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  1. Excellent Move of hiring a Private Investigator! I really have great respect for Private Investigators! Their knowledge and skill in solving problems are awesome! Words are not enough to explain their ingenuity!


  2. Your thought is really hats off. This is the really a good process to hire a PI. Thanks for sharing it.


  3. Thanks for sharing This article this is really good blog, I like this.


    • glad to hear you enjoyed it! I am a bit late in my blogs as we have been so busy but more are coming!


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