Full Registered User
Hello, I have just recently finished college and gained my drivers licence.

I am interested in becoming a private investigator / surveillance operative full time however with all these courses out there etc I am not quite sure on how I will go about doing this.

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Security Directors
If you are just starting out in investigations, you may want to get in touch with Alan Marr from Jigsaw Services. He runs a two day introductory course into private investigations which covers all the different aspects for the trade. Obviously, he doesn't teach all of the subjects in this time but gives you a good overview of what to expect in the industry. You may want to consider this short course before doing anything else.

If it is surveillance that you want, there are many out there doing it (31 at the last count, 12 of which sprouted up in 2007). We have been teaching surveillance the longest in the UK and think that we have got it right, we were the first to offer BTEC Level 3 Certificates in surveillance.

If you are looking at other surveillance trainers be sure to ask:
  • How long has your company been teaching surveillance?
  • Do your instructors carry out surveillance as well as teach it?
  • Can you see a detailed copy of the course training programme? (some training providers do not like to part with it as it is uncannily similar to ours).
  • Do you have full insurance?
  • Do the students use fully covert radios? (don't accept curly earpieces, Walkman style earpieces or mobile phones).
  • Do you carry out full mobile exercises or is it just foot or classroom based?
  • Do you offer nationally recognised qualifications, awards or certificates?
  • What are the costs?
  • Do you have quality assurance to at least British Standards Institute? (BSI Kite Mark).
  • Does your certificate have credibility and weight? (will your CV end up in someones bin if it states that you were trained by ABC Company).
  • Are you a member of a trade body that vets its membership?
Be aware of statements on websites such as:

  • 'Free Accommodation'. The cost will be in there somewhere, it is not too difficult to do the maths.
  • 'Discounted costs or grants'. The company is possibly struggling to get 'bums on seats'.
  • 'Feel free to bring your own camera'. The company does not provide enough equipment.
  • 'SIA Registered' or 'SIA Approved Supplier'. This has nothing to do with surveillance training, only wheel clamping, door supervision and close protection. Some companies (mainly close protection) use this to suggest that their surveillance training is approved by the SIA. This is illegal and should be reported to the SIA.
  • 'Edexcel Approved'. Ensure that their surveillance training is approved and accredited by Edexcel, otherwise you may be mislead by those who are Edexcel approved for close protection training only, who's surveillance training is not.
  • 'We can offer you surveillance work after the course'. Please treat with extreme caution. Many people have a natural aptitude for his type of work, some do not but they will not find out until they have finished the course. Do you think that a training company will risk its reputation by recommending someone from their course to a potential employer, (or use them themselves) if that student does not have the aptitude for it?
  • Be cautious of student 'testimonials' on websites. Anyone can write anything.
Good luck in your research.

Peter Jenkins


Full Registered User
Hi NG9

ISS training offer some great packages, some of our associates are looking into some of their courses. The advanced surveillance manual is a fantastic book & would be a great investment.

If you can get into a surveillance company initially as a van man then this would get you on the circuit & you would gain great knowledge out on the road working with more experienced officers. There are also companies & agencies that delve more into the private investigation side of things providing services like process serving, statement taking & tracing, etc, a lot of this work can be office based but if you wanted to get your teeth into the core of surveillance using video & photo evidence then look at taking a couple of courses with ISS & get your cv out to relevant companies.


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ISS Training

Having undertaken the ISS 4 day course myself, albeit in 2004, I can not recommend the Company highly enough. Peter and his staff are true professionals and superb instructors.


Full Registered User
yes the advanced manual is outstanding,its the only book ive read which is accurate it is well worth investing