It is with sadness and again shock that we read an article in The Telegraph over the weekend entitled “Private Detectives Are Out Of Control In Britain” by Jake Willis Simons.
The article seemed to try and shock the audience with “stunning” news that the private detective industry is un-regulated and anybody can operate within the industry whilst also centering on the fact Lord Stevens; a former Metropolitan Police Commissioner had been under surveillance from a private detective agency.
Is it really of any benefit to keep writing the same old story and going over old ground? In our opinion it is not helping anyone; especially with an active solution being sought by our industry, the general public and Government into regulating private detectives in the right way as soon as possible.
We at Insight independently, and via our professional association WAPI, are assisting actively the government in bringing in legislation to license Private Investigators. It is true., currently anyone can set themselves up as a private investigator criminal record or not and we wish this was not the case. We repeatedly are rectifying for clients those errors and mistakes made by other investigators, such mistakes being made either though inexperience or incompetence.
The general public need not panic unnecessarily though, if they are searching for an investigator contact any advertised company and ask questions. Are they experienced? What are their credentials? Don’t just take the agencies word check whatever you can, most reputable agencies have a degree of transparency. Despite the discretion of the profession, it’s not all smoke and mirrors.
Any investigator worth his or her title would have known about a seminar in Leicester yesterday where both the ICO and SIA were in attendance to discuss with private investigators how they saw the future shaping up and also to see how things are moving forward in terms of licensing.
It really is time for such reputable journalists and writers to start focusing on positive steps being made, not just re-writing the same old story using another high profile name and trying to shock the general public; casting more cloud over our valuable profession.
With all the negativity still looming in the air around the ongoing Leveson enquiry and the ethics of the British press and private detectives we thought that it would be a great time to look at how private detectives have influenced countless writers, producers and authors into creating fictional private detective characters and briging them to life through books, television and films.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is responsible for creating the most well known and without a doubt most famous fictional private detective, Sherlock Holmes. It is no surprise that a lot of character traits that were attributed to Conan Doyle were similar in that of Sherlock Holmes. Conan Doyle was himself a physician and this was reflected hugely in Holmes character with the detective often using forensic or scientific methods as well as logical thinking to solve many of his cases.
Conan Doyle also said that the character of Holmes was influenced by Dr Joseph Bell, seen as a pioneer of forensic science and a one time employer of Conan Doyle, whilst Sir Henry Littlejohn a police surgeon was also accredited for some of the traits making up Holmes distinct link between detection of crime and forensic science methods to solve a case.
Sherlock Holmes was first seen through literature and publications in the late 1800′s and is still popular in the modern day with a recent 2009 release of a Hollywood blockbuster movie, featuring Robert Downey Jr as Holmes, getting a worldwide big screen audience.
Legendary actor Humphrey Bogart brought to life another famous fictional private detective in The Maltese Falcon, Sam Spade, again born out of a novel and turned into a movie for wider acclaim and fame. His portrayal of the detective was the third time Sam Spade had been made into a film and is easily the most well known of the three versions. The influence and traits shown by the character created by Dashiell Hamlett, was an unmatched determination for justice, a great eye for details and ability to work alone with no emotional attachments; all attributes that could be part of a real life private detectives mindset and behaviour.
Of course there have been many other fictional private detectives but none have had the worldwide acclaim or ongoing popularity that Sherlock Holmes has, be it through novels, short stories, television series and films, Insight hope that people continue to see the good work and wide variety of useful services offered by a private detective as a source of inspiration and do not always let bad media coverage or press get in the way of what is a very well respected and experienced profession.
The Perry Mason legend was born. Followed up by a TV series in 1957 through till 1966, actor Raymond Burr played the role of private detective Perry Mason and the show frequently attracted a huge following.
The man behind Perry Mason, Erle Stanley Gardner is one of the most succesfull authors of all time, with over 160 million prints of his books being in circulation prior to his death in 1969. The TV series is seen as the most successful and long running series focusing on a private detective of all time.
Now, after many decades in the wilderness globally acclaimed actor Robert Downey Jr intends to bring the character back to life in a blockbuster movie. Not a complete stranger to playing the part of a private detective, Downey Jr played the part of Sherlock Holmes in a recent movie by legendary director Guy Ritchie.
The news is that Downey Jr and producers are working on a story that will captivate audiences, although there is no scheduled release date as yet it will be great for the industry and younger film fans to experience a piece of this vintage private detective character.
After months of speculation and pressure from members, WAPI are to ask the Government to regulate the private investigator industry and put the industry under similar standing to enforcement officers under the established County Court Certification act.
This call comes in light of the negative publicity and media coverage of the phone hacking scandal surrounding News International that has not only shocked the general public but also well respected, senior MPs throughout the UK. Insight have long campaigned for regulation of the private detective industry and will support any measures taken to infiltrate rogue private investigators carrying out illegal services.
By calling for the same regulation as enforcement officers, the cost to the taxpayer would be negligible as the industry would self finance the move through application, certificate and renewal fees. Having regulations in place such as this will no doubt give the public opinion of the private investigator industry a major boost and help to put recent negative media coverage in the past where it belongs.
We hope for a swift decision between WAPI and the Government, this action should have been taken years ago and could of prevented a lot of the illegal activities that have put our indsutry in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons this year.