What we learnt at the ABI Training and Seminar Day

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What we learnt at the ABI Training and Seminar Day

ABI logo

Last Friday, 23rd September 2016, the Association of British Investigators (ABI) held its Autumn seminar day at the Union Jack Club at Waterloo, London.

The event attracted around 65 delegate coming as far as Hong Kong, India and Israel; it was truly an international concern, allowing networking with associates and friends, old and new.

This day of learning was different from the other ABI seminar days, and most other organisations educational conferences. Instead of having the usual, non-stop line up of speakers, one after the other, at this event there were only two main speakers and several workshops on various subjects.


Each workshop was around 30 minutes long. Each delegate worked themselves around the room attending each workshop, allowing all attendees to maximise on the information presented. Each workshop was around 15 people strong, giving more time for everyone to interact with the presenter and each other.


The workshop periods were broken by the main speakers, lunch and other breaks. After which the delegates moved onto the next subject.


There were five workshops in total:

Workshop A

Given by Peter Jenkins, concerning the continuity of evidence in respect of digital photographs. This included ‘camera to court’, media storage, image adjustment, enhancements and more.


Peter has over 20 years’ experience in the training and surveillance operations. He is a former Royal Marine and teaches his craft to companies, organisations and individuals around the world.


Workshop B

Tracing and taking data interrogation to the next level was presented jointly by Thomas Dolby and Vilma Green of GBG, and ABI members Chris Booth of Palatine. The presentation included the updated search by GBG using their latest investigation tool OSINT, with Global functionality. It uses a mix of global mapping, addresses along with geo-location social media data. It links people to properties around the world.

Workshop C

Lauriane Enos explained the need for interpreters when interviewing non-English speakers. She covered the mastering of basics, including cultural differences in body language, the research required for interviews and the accuracy of statements of truth. Google translate if OK for written ‘day’ stuff but when it gets serious, you really do need a profession¬†in that language.

Workshop D

Michael Morgan and his company Cardiff Web Development Ltd have developed a case management system solely for the investigation industry. It includes all necessary fields that one needs for the administration of a case file, from client information and contact details, prediction & scope, agents, fees, budgets, upload of documents and the like. It allows field personnel to access the file; they can access the areas that have allowed to them by the administrator; the field agent can also upload documents and photographs.


Workshop C

ABI Academy explaining all that is needed for the IQ level 3 qualification and how to achieve it.

All the workshops were well delivered had great content and were of benefit to all those who visited and listened to the speakers. There was an interaction between the students and the speakers as well as between each other.


The main speakers were scattered through the day one in the morning and the second one after lunch.

The first speaker was the Chief Executive of the Private Security Authority (PSA) Ireland Paul Scallan. He explained how licensing of private investigators works in Ireland. After waiting to see licensing introduced in the UK, they eventually decided that they had to act first. Licensing came about in Ireland in 2015, at present, it covers companies and the owners, employees will require licensing shortly.

It appears that the Irish authority has introduced Investigator licensing quickly and the terms of the license are not complicated. The fee at present is around 1000 euros for a two-year license and firms have to be inspected by an independent inspectorate. It’s hoped that as more licenses applications are applied for, the less the license will cost.


Mr Scallan’s presentation was very informative but with lots of humour, making what could be a boring subject an enjoyable and entertaining experience.

The second speaker of the day was Mike Fanshawe from Begbies Traynor Group plc, seeking on the matter of forensic technology. Mike gave a talk about what can be accessed on a computer or mobile phone when conducting forensic examinations.

The world is changing in the matter of examination what is advancing all the time, and it is important that investigators keep abreast of the latest technology available in evidence collection.

The ABI was formed in 1913 and is the leading trade association for investigators in the United Kingdom; the ABI have a professional partnership with the Law Societies of England & Wales and Scotland. The organisation vet all new applicants ensuring that standards are continued, existing members are regularly reviewed, ensuring they are of good character and fully insured as well as being registered with appropriate government departments or regulatory bodies.

Regular training programs are also held during the year, ensuring members are up to date with new and changing legislation allowing them to advise clients accordingly.

The ABI also have a code of conduct that members adhere to, if members are in breach of this code the can be disciplined.

Anyone using or considering using an investigator should ensure that their person of choice is a current ABI member.

Roy Whitehouse CFE CII


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