As a private investigation company based in Sydney, we get this question a lot. We find people and clients, funnily enough, are very interested in this line of work. It certainly is a different type of job and makes a very interesting talking point over a beer at BBQs or dinner parties.
Given most people have never really heard of this profession (outside of movies and TV shows) they don’t know how to get started, or where to go to find out more information. That’s why at Sydney PI, we thought we’d give share with you an overview of how to become a private investigator in NSW. As this differs from state to state, this is a guide specific to NSW.
What Qualifications Do You Need to Become a PI?
To legally follow someone around as a private investigator you’ll need to obtain an operator’s license, which is issued by the NSW Police force under the Security Licensing & Enforcement Directorate. Before the license is issued you must successfully complete a Certificate III in Investigative Services. This will enable you to legally do surveillance on a person and investigate a person.
The best way to obtain your Cert III in Investigative Services is through a fast track course. The cost ranges from around $1,600 to $2,000 and you can do it as fast or as slow as you want. The course structure is usually comprised of an online component and practical sessions.
Below are two organisations that run the short course we recommend:
How Do You Obtain Your Private Investigator Licence?
In NSW a private investigator falls under the Commercial Agents & Private Inquiry Agents Act 2004 and is categorised as Commercial Agent activities and Private Inquiry Agent activities.
The first step is to obtain a probationary licence. A Probationary Operator licence is issued subject to a condition that the licensee may only carry out the activities authorised by the licence while under the supervision of the holder of a Master Licence or the holder of an unrestricted Operator Licence.
This is reasonably easy to do. Simply follow the below steps:
- Fill out the form on this website and pay the $130 fee.
- Once your application has been processed you will be asked to go to the local police station and to give your fingerprints. Once this has been processed you will be issued your probationary license.
- You then have a maximum of two years to complete your Certificate III in Investigative services. You can then apply for a full operator’s licence.
- You can choose to pay for a 1-year licence or a 5-year licence. See costs here.
- Once your full licence has been issued you are free to sub-contract to companies as a private investigator.
If you have any questions, please contact the SLED Contact Centre directly on 1300 362 001, 8:30am to 4:30pm Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays).
Do You Need to Hire a Private Investigator in NSW?
If you are looking for Private Investigation services in Sydney NSW, contact our professional staff today on 1300 773 293. Alternatively, you can contact us online and we’ll get back in touch as soon as possible.