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Private Investigators

Dr. Watson and his companion, Sherlock Holmes, have previously featured in this site HERE. They had a conflicted relationship with the police but were, emphatically, independent. If they were now to move from Baker St. to Pembroke St., say, they would possibly require a licence from the Private Security Authority.

The Authority was established by the Private Security Services Act 2004.

It defines a “private investigatorâ€? as follows:

“private investigatorâ€? means a person who for remuneration conducts investigations into matters on behalf of a client and includes a person who—

(a) obtains or furnishes information in relation to the personal character, actions or occupation of a person or to the character or kind of business in which a person is engaged, or

(b) searches for missing persons;

This is very general and might extend to Sherlock Holmes if not to Dr. Watson himself. The doubt lies in the question of remuneration. I do not recall payment ever having been made to Holmes and Dr. Watson never got paid.

As chance would have it they would, in queuing for their licences, find themselves in the company of “bouncersâ€? who are defined as follows:

“door supervisorâ€? means a person who for remuneration, as part of his or her duties, performs any of the following functions at, in or in the vicinity of any premises or any other place where a public or private event or function is taking place or is about to take place:

(a) controlling, supervising, regulating or restricting entry to the premises or place,

(b) controlling or monitoring the behaviour of persons therein,

(c) removing persons therefrom because of their behaviour;

This is reasonably specific. It is, however, clearly dependent on “premisesâ€? and “eventsâ€?. The requirement to be licenced (advertising excepted) is contingent on those elements being present.

Not so for Holmes. He would require his licence if he agreed to “conduct investigationsâ€?, which he often did following his first meeting with the client.

We know what was notable about the Holmesian “investigationsâ€? but the Holmesian methods are not a requirement for the obligation to be licenced to arise. Section 3 of the Act exempts, inter alia, Gardai and Defence force personnel from the provisions of the Act.

Exemptions aside, anyone who “conducts investigationsâ€? for a client, for remuneration, is required to have a licence.

That appears to include, road traffic accident investigators, other accident investigators, forensic auditors and planning consultants, does it not?

One Comment

  1. Hmmm… what about employment agencies who do (albeit cursory) checks on a candidate’s background. Might they be furnishing “information in relation to the personal character, actions or occupation of a person or to the character or kind of business in which a person is engaged”?

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