Private Investigator Association | World Association of Professional Investigators

The World Association of Professional Investigators, WAPI, is a private investigator body, formed by professionals, for professionals. It covers all areas of investigation, public sector and private sector, companies and individuals, corporate and domestic.

The Association began as an open Professional Investigator Association in 2000, shortly after the UK Government announced the beginning of regulation of the Security Industry, which was to include the Investigative Sector.  

WAPI was created to empower the many Investigators throughout the UK, Ireland, EU and beyond, who would eventually need a licence to function within the UK/EU, and who were not being represented by the long established other UK Associations, or as many saw them “exclusive” clubs who sat in judgement over the vast majority of those operating within the Sector.  

Once regulation became a fact, at least for most Sectors within the Industry, some panic set in, as to what criteria was to be imposed for a licence! The vast majority of UK Investigators come from a law enforcement background, many having retired and embarked on a new PI Career, and felt that their experience and various investigative based qualifications were more than enough to be proven as competent.  

It had been published by other Associations that there were over 10,000 practising Investigators in the Private Sector alone, and of this number less than 5% had joined the existing Associations in the UK. WAPI mandated that it would be open to all and any practising investigator, private or law enforcement and that Private Investigator Members would have to have, or be granted a licence as and when the regulation started for the Investigator Sector. Thus the determination of who was competent and qualified was left entirely to the SIA – Security Industry Authority, and not left in the hands of an “exclusive” Association who would test and examine their membership applications.  

Furthermore, in accord with the “open” views of the WAPI Governing Council, the eGroup was made “open” for all practising Investigators to be able to join, free and without restriction, enabling a wide range of networking opportunities, a massive Advice Facility where most Investigative based questions or problems can be examined and discussed across a membership in excess of a thousand. It would be true to say that very few – if any questions posed have not been resolved on the eGroup!  

Why join an Association?

Often it is said or asked, why join an Association? What do I get out of it? Is it worth the trouble? Etc etc  

I would suggest that being a Member of WAPI adds strength to the Mandate that your GC needs when dealing on behalf of Members with the SIA, OFT, ICO and other Government and Statutory Bodies. It is vital for all of us to ensure that our concerns are dealt with prior to the implementation date, now delayed yet again and expected in 2011/2012.  

The SIA are considering Exams for all! And some of the Associations have backed that horse already?  

WAPI firmly believe that the criteria for competence should be determined by a combination of investigative based qualifications and/or proven experience. WAPI published a Proposal years ago outlining a simple points based system using these factors.  

Grandfather Rights seem to have been disregarded by the SIA, and again WAPI would urge all in the Sector to stand-up and be heard in this regard. HGV and PSV Drivers are afforded Grandfather Rights in the soon to be launched new standards for ongoing licences for HGV/PSV. Indeed many other Trades and Professions have become regulated over past years with Grandfather Rights built in.   These are the type of Issues that WAPI undertake to represent for our members through the Multi Association ISG – Investigator Sector Group and other involved Bodies.   So if you are not already a WAPI Member, add your weight to our Mandate, and apply today.

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During these times of uncertainty in respect of Investigator licensing situation, it has become more and more important that potential Users of Professional Investigative Services including Members of the Public, Legal Profession, Business and Corporate Clients, are able to select a credible Professional Investigator who is recognized as a “Professional” and as such is a Member of an established and approved Professional Association such as The World Association of Professional Investigators – WAPI.

John Edwards

Read full message from the WAPI Chairman