ABI conference preview

by Mark Rowe

Professional Security Magazine has been invited to the 2024 conference of the Association of British Investigators (ABI), in Windsor in the last week of April. ABI secretary Tony Imossi, pictured, has equally kindly sent editor Mark Rowe the programme, and has talked through it.

The ABI’s gatherings are always worthwhile, quite apart from catching up with people, for learning about new tools for investigating. I recall an ABI talk about use of satellite imagery, that could show the earth in ever more detail. Tony singled out the Saturday morning, April 27 talk by Nigel Nicholson, ABI member, on GreyList, the software for testing (among other things) email addresses for crypto-wallet ownership. In other words, if fraudsters or others think they can hide assets in cypto-currency, think again!?

Given that an investigation like many other things routinely begins online, that implies the need to abide by data protection law, and another thread to the conference is the latest on the ABI’s GDPR Code of Conduct. It’s been in the works for some time; Tony featured in the August 2020 print edition of Professional Security Magazine about it, and the code was with the data protection regulator the ICO in 2021 when we had a meal with Tony in London to interview him. Meanwhile, while the UK has seen many rum things lately, one of the rummest is that Theresa May as Home Secretary in 2013 stated that the Security Industry Authority (which had the authority in the Private Security Industry Act 2001) would regulate private investigators, by the following year. It never happened.

The Home Office position now is one of ‘wait and see’, namely waiting for this code of conduct. Other bodies, such as the Law Society, have taken an interest in the code, because lawyers and solicitors are among those who use the services of investigators. What’s in it for the investigator? To show that they comply with good practice; in a word, that they are professional.

Peter Farrington, a member of the ABI governing council, is chairing a debate on the pros and cons of licensing UK investigators. He and fellow governing council member Nicci Ashby are speaking on the Friday afternoon, April 26, about process serving and making enquiries at the door, and ‘how to avoid tricky situations’.

The gathering finishes with the AGM. Visit

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