With effect from 1 November 2015, contractors providing security services as a private investigator require a licence from the Private Security Authority (the “PSA”). The Private Security (Licensing and Standards) (Private Investigator) Regulations 2015 (the “Regulations”) are the result of a PSA public consultation conducted last January following a number of successful prosecutions against private investigators by the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner.
The new Regulations will apply to any person who in the course of a business, trade or profession conducts investigations into matters on behalf of a client and includes a person who –
- 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;
- searches for missing persons; or
- obtains or furnishes information in relation to the loss or damage of property.
Since 1 November 2015 it is an offence to operate as a private investigator without a licence. In addition, only those licenced by the PSA can now advertise or represent themselves as a licensed private investigator. From the perspective of the insurance industry it is important to note that it is also an offence for a person to engage or employ an unlicensed private investigator. Any person who contravenes these provisions can be fined up to €3,000 or imprisoned for up to 12 months or both on summary conviction. A conviction on indictment can lead to imprisonment of up to five years or a fine.