Level 3 Award for Professional Investigators


I attended the Open Source Intelligence Research Course run by ESS Consulting and Covert Training in Jan 2015. This was the second OSInt course that I have attended, the first was a Police OSInt Course at Bramshill whilst serving as an Intelligence Officer. I can say hand on heart that the two trainers improved my knowledge of OSInt research techniques without question. MH the main instructor, is a true SME and has a great breadth of knowledge on this subject. I recommend this course to anyone in the private sector that wishes to improve their research techniques. This course far surpassed my expectations and I would go as far to say the content exceeded that delivered by the police. Kind regards

Liam D

February 7, 2015

I have spent the last 14 years as an aircraft engineer & the last 18 months dabbling part time within the realms of PI work, which I have now chosen as my new career.

After learning about the new licensing regulations for private investigators I researched various training companies and found numerous recommendations on ESS Consulting Ltd. The course was excellent value for money, the training was realistic with case file and videos, packed full of information and was delivered professionally. This was proven in my results with a pass in both exams.

Being relatively new to the industry I was expecting to be left trailing behind, but with Jason’s support, group discussions & instant answers to questions this wasn’t the case. This relaxed class room atmosphere just can’t be found with a distance learning course.  It has certainly given me the confidence needed for my next step.

Aviation Engineer/Investigator

February 7, 2015

I retired from the Met Police after 21 years service with 19 of those years spent as a Detective predominantly in proactive, covert roles in London. I was a Level 1 CHIS handler, posted to The Flying Squad, an authorised firearms officer (AFO) and fully trained surveillance officer. I was employed on a confidential Unit where I investigated numerous high profile and sensitive cases.

Since leaving the Police I have worked as a freelance Investigator/surveillance operative. I was recommended by an ex Met surveillance Team Leader to enrol on the Professional Investigator Level 3 course being run by ESS Consulting as he had attended the course and found it very beneficial.

I enrolled on the course and attended this month. I was sent a course prospectus and some pre-reading material. The other candidates on the course were from a mixed background of military intelligence, aviation and private security. The previous experiences of the students made for interesting conversation and contributed to the course. I was also pleased I was not the only female present on the course as I think it made discussions more interesting.

The days are fully loaded with relevant, accurate content backed up by valuable case file examples. The sessions are delivered clearly, professionally and pitched at exactly the right level. For me personally this was about some revision material along with new instruction and advice for operating in the private sector. However I got a lot more than I thought I would out of this training.

Jason demonstrated a wealth of experience in relation to covert practices and techniques, the formal professional qualification obtained is a bonus to the first rate instruction.

Ex Met Flying Squad

February 7, 2015

"I am more than happy to provide this testimonial and hope that the few lines go some way in explaining the wealth of knowledge I gained from this course;

I came to the ESS OSINT course without a military or police background. I have been employed in operational security roles for 8 years having undertaken a BA(HONS) degree in the area. I was looking to expand my knowledge of the intelligence gathering process in order to ensure that I have a range of skills to offer employers and this course gave me more than I had bargained for.

I had attended a basic open source techniques course with a different company some years ago and built upon the knowledge substantially during this course.

The course was informative, interesting and insightful and has led me to looking at completing an MSc in this area.

I would highly recommend this course to anyone hoping to enhance their knowledge of open source intelligence.

Olympic Park Village

February 7, 2015

I have served 8 years in a military reconnaissance unit and have now joined the private market for surveillance. I was recommended to attend the osint training course by a colleague who is also ex military and had taken 3 courses with ESS. I completed the osint level 3 and professional investigator level 3 and used my resettlement funding for this. I was due to attend another surveillance training company course that a lot of colleagues recommended but I'm very pleased with the choice I made in ESS. The instructors were superb and obviously done this work for a very long time, they couldn't be more helpful and the courses were excellent. I took a lot of knowledge away from the courses but it was a bit intense at times so I did feel I missed out on some areas too. The instructor has offered continued support which is great.

One point really struck home, and that is how much B... S.. there is promoting surveillance training and how apparently easy it is to go get work. The instructor was brutally honest which I and the others appreciated and many of the experience surveillance operatives also on this course said exactly the same thing, that it was very difficult to get regular work and no surveillance training course will get you in with a surveillance company or investigator. Part of the course was showing students how difficult it is to secure work in the industry and how to go about it in a clever way. Very worthwhile and essential to me.

I am converted and will go back to take the ESS level 3 and 4 surveillance courses, and I look forward to going on real operations all included which I think will serve me better than any of the training put together.

D. Burret
Former Recce Troop Royal Marines

February 6, 2015

I joined the PI L3 course for two days training prior to taking the exam at the end of the course.

My background is military, having spent nine years in the Royal Marines. On leaving HM Forces, I started working in this industry in 1998, and since then have conducted surveillance operations on a daily basis. I have specialised in this, and whilst Private Investigations/Civil Investigations covers a wide range of subjects, I have concentrated solely in this field.

I therefore met other candidates on the course run by E.S.S with a wide range of abilities and experience, and over the course, everybody contributed with their differing views and opinions, making the course richly rewarding and interesting, in terms of knowledge and different skills.

I can wholly recommend this course to others, and since completing, have actively sought out fellow colleagues to inform them about participating. The instructor was highly informative, professional and his depth of knowledge and experience carried across to candidates with ease, making the process enjoyable and I came away having absorbed new and valuable information, which will be put to use in my day to day capacity as a surveillance operative. There is something for everyone here, whether you are considering starting a career in the industry, fairly new to it, or have a lifetime experience in this ever changing industry.

C. S.

C. S. August 27, 2014

ESS provide a really positive atmosphere for learning about the world of covert surveillance with their friendly and supportive team. The "Private Investigator L3" is the second course I've done through ESS and I enjoyed every moment of it. Highly recommended.

S. G.
GI Protection

S. G. GI Protection August 22, 2014

I have spent the last 15 years in the military and have recently moved in to the private sector of surveillance and private investigation. After being advised on the SIA licencing I recently completed the level 3 Professional Investigator course conducted by ESS Consulting Ltd. Being new to the industry I found the course well conducted and highly informative which enabled me to complete and pass the course. I would recommend it to anyone within the industry.


D. M. August 22, 2014

I have 22 years police experience mainly in the Metropolitan Police, and have worked for 15 years in the private sector. Recently I have attended an ESS PI Level 3 professional investigator course. The course instructor delivered an outstanding course for in my opinion the novice and the seasoned investigator.

Jason displayed a wealth of knowledge in the legislation covering Private Investigators, and clearly has a great deal of experience in the practical aspects of our profession. He demonstrated this by answering all kinds of questions from the class, and consolidated the learning with case file studies showing edited video clips of live jobs performed by Jason and his team.

I would not hesitate to recommend this course to anyone interested in the industry, or for any experienced investigators wishing to brush up on their skills. Keep up the good work Jason. Goes to show your never too old to learn.

Ray Wade 
Director, Merlin Associates Ltd

Ray Wade Director, Merlin Associates Ltd. August 22, 2014

As a former soldier and military investigator, the civilian and corporate investigative worlds that operate under a much less forgiving framework than in the military can be a maze of legislation. During this course I was particularly impressed by the way that Jason and his team demonstrated an in-depth knowledge of the legal structures of investigative operations.  Their advice, guidance and entertaining instruction ensured that I now conduct myself in a legal manor and comply with the current regulatory standards in order to protect my business and myself.

Ex-Military Surveillance Operator of 10 years

Dan Ex-Military Surveillance Operator of 10 years August 22, 2014

With the impending SIA regulations for PI licencing I started the long task of trying to find the right training provider to take me through this course. I have seen many adverts and recommendations for other training providers but wanted an operational company that would be using these regulations and legislation as second nature on a day to day basis.

Eventually, a couple of well respected operators told me the course that ESS is running was the one to do. After plenty of research, I chose them for the experienced operators 2 day course held at a wonderful venue in Newmarket. I had previous knowledge of the standard of course Jason and his team run as I had completed their 3 day OSINT course, which was probably the most enjoyable but hard course I had ever completed.

From booking the course to being sat in the classroom was a very slick and professionally run operation with all pre course reading material being sent in plenty of time for me to look through it all and to attempt to take it in. This course is very heavy on current regulations and legislation and the team at ESS made it very easy to get into the correct mindset to learn the relevant information required by the SIA.

There was a really good mix of people on my course with varying degrees of knowledge of the subject. Even though I have spent in excess of 30 years in this business, I found the way the course material was relayed to us, both us older ones and candidates that were relatively new to the industry, was exceptional. Everyone was treated as an equal and Q&A sessions invariably showed the difference between us but with some interesting ideas and approaches to different scenarios from everyone.

Jason’s relaxed (but very efficient) style of teaching allows for plenty of time to recap and go over things that were not fully understood initially, giving full and decisive answers to any questions put to him without any ambiguity.

I do have to say though, this is not an attendance course, the exams at the end are very intense but if you have read the material sent out prior to the course and listen to the lessons carefully you will achieve a great result – and most of this is down to the  excellent teaching methods and the vast subject knowledge of Jason and his team.

Tony Corrie MSc
Operations Manager
Senior Investigator & Security Consultant
Farleigh Consultants Limited

August 20, 2014

Dear ESS,

I am writing to thank you for your help in organising and facilitating the recent Professional Investigations course. I was a little reticent about committing to it initially but can I say that my apprehension has been dispelled and I'm now glad to have taken part.

This was the first time in a long time I found myself in a classroom environment since leaving the Police 14years ago. What I found was the opening session eased everybody into this two-day course and demonstrated that many of my fellow students had similar worries. These evaporated almost immediately.

I'd left the Police when the whole concept of R.I.P.A. was being introduced and although my previous surveillancce activities within the service were compliant with RIPA, I was aware how it can affect my commercial clients. This was also the case with the other legislation you covered such as the Data Protection Act.

I found the structured segments interesting and informative and some of the examples used to demonstrate the different varied aspects of the subject matter were not just engaging but entertaining.

Can I also commend your choice of location. The facilities were clean and far above my expectations, far superior in fact to my hotel. The quiet atmosphere meant that we were able to focus solely on the matters at hand and as an extra note, the refreshments put my diet back six weeks. Thanks.

Once again the exam section obviously led to some anxiety but I enjoyed how the arrangements were carried out. All the other students were happy in our discussions after and I've l ittle doubt that everybody passed

In conclusion, after my initial reservations I can happily say that I am now very glad to have taken this course and would be interested in any subsequent courses, and indeed maybe some other courses in this field.

Thanks again and I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours faithfully,

P. Peberdy
Former Met Surveillance Officer

August 20, 2014

I attended the Level 3 Professional Investigator Course with over 15 years of experience of surveillance and investigations. The course taught vital legislation, investigation techniques and processes that ensured the legal protection of compliant investigators. So despite my prior knowledge, the course provided me with relevant technical theory and a thorough understanding of the legalities involved. Many concepts were supplemented by examples from real investigations, proving not only the extensive knowledge held by the instructor but also adding an extra element of enjoyment and understanding. I would recommend this course without hesitation, especially to those looking to increase their professionalism as investigators in the private sector. The level of protection now afforded to my business through the knowledge gained on the course is worth the cost ten-fold.

Rachel Webb
Former Military Surveillance Instructor

August 20, 2014

I am a retired Police Officer having served for more than 25 years as a Detective Constable in the Metropolitan Police Service, and then working as a Private Investigator in the private sector in 2007. I served on the Serious Crime Squad, Flying Squad, Force Intelligence Bureau, Area Surveillance team and before retiring became a trainer at the Hendon Police College teaching Surveillance for SCD11 and attaining a City & Guilds Qualification in teaching. I have some 24 years experience in Surveillance and also taking criminal statements and investigation.

On learning of the new regulations that were coming into force for Private Investigators, I contacted E.S.S.Consulting Limited as I was recommended them by someone who had already completed the two day course, and had been successful in taking the exams.

My course was booked promptly and all documents that I required were emailed to me the next day. I was able to complete the pre course work easily as the instructions were easy to follow. I duly arrived at the teaching centre, which was situated in the most pleasant surroundings, and after a cup of tea the course began. I found it hard at first as I have not been taught anything since leaving the Detective Training school in 1986, but Jason the instructor was patient with everyone, as I soon discovered everyone was in the same mind.

I soon realised that I did not know as much as I thought I did, and through Jason’s teaching I soon picked it up and was able to understand it and on the second day after more teaching and revision, I took the two part exam and passed both. I am now putting in place the requirements I need to and would like to thank Jason and his staff for the excellent way the two day course was presented. It couldn’t have been easy standing in front of a class of Dinosaurs who all thought they knew better!

Mark Burdis

August 16, 2014

I served 25 years in the Metropolitan Police Force, seven of which was spent in uniform dealing with day to day public duties. I joined SO11 and spent 18 years working in a dedicated surveillance unit based at Scotland Yard, dealing with all types of major crime from Anti Terrorism, Kidnappings, Armed Robberies and Drugs. 

The ESS course was of great benefit to me; not only as a refresher but more importantly it brought me up to date with recent Laws and Legislation, and requirements currently in place governing this business.

I have spent the last 10 years in the private sector. I still have a working knowledge of investigative procedures and the chain of evidence.

I am an experienced competent operative but gained a great deal from the ESS Consulting P I training. I found the course to be informative, properly structured and at all times the instruction was clear and professionally delivered.

I can highly recommend this course to all, whether novice or an experienced investigator.

C. Main
Napier Lodge Associates Limited

August 11, 2014

With over 30 years experience as a surveillance operative and facilitator in the Police and Private Sector and with SIA registration looming, I started making enquires about the Private Investigators qualification. Having already been approached by several companies offering this service on-line or classroom based, I spoke to Jason at ESS Consulting Ltd. Having known this ultimate professional for several years and looking at the package provided, I had no hesitation signing up for the course.

Classroom based in relaxed surroundings, with all facilities provided, I along with all the other students settled down immediately. With a broad spectrum of students attending, from those like myself with Police experience and a good understanding of legislation, to Ex Military personnel and novices looking at a career in Private Investigation, all areas were covered professionally. The time line made sure every student fully understood the content before moving on to the next topic. With an open forum, questions and answer points and examples, all the students benefitted from this learning experience.

Due to this experience all my operatives have now attended this ESS Consulting Ltd Private Investigators Course and I have highly recommended it to colleagues and individuals looking for this qualification. Thank you ESS and the team.

John Griffiths
Principle at Corporate Surveillance Services

John Griffiths Principle at Corporate Surveillance Services March 13, 2014

PI L3 Endorsement
ESS Consulting Limited

Having recently attended the ESS level 3 PI course, I felt it important to write a few lines recommending both the course and ESS Consulting for the professionalism and delivery.

I am a retired police officer having spent 23 years of my 30 year service as a dedicated surveillance operative. I now specalise in operational surveillance and training in the private sector.

As an instructor myself (Cert Ed) it’s been quite a while since I’d sat on the student side of the desk and found it interesting to observe Jason’s style of teaching. Knowing him as I do I was not surprised to find that he had a relaxed, informal manner which made my fellow students feel at ease but at the same time made what could have been a dry subject (legislation!!) very interesting, supported by examples, edited footage, etc.

Our class comprised of students with years of practical experience; career detectives, dedicated surveillance operatives and ex military personnel from various

Specialist units. Some had years of experience running their own companies, others were just starting as Sole Traders in the industry. Having spoken to the majority of the class during and after the course I know that everyone, no matter how experienced within the industry, benefited greatly from the course, the greatest benefit for me being Jason’s depth of knowledge. Having a class of students with so much experience and knowledge it was natural that a lot of points were discussed, Jason was quite obviously comfortable to hear and share individual’s experiences and points of view and took time to explain anything that wasn’t fully understood. By the time I sat the exam I was confident that I understood the syllabus sufficiently to not only pass but pass it well. The whole class passed with ease and this is, in my opinion, solely as a result of the way the syllabus had been presented by ESS and taught by Jason.

I do not hesitate to thoroughly recommend this course. Well done Jason for putting it together as you have, presenting it in an enjoyable way, and getting me through it!

Ex Met Police Surveillance Operative / Trainer



Paul Burt Director Surveillance Limited March 7, 2014

Having recently attended the Level 3 PI course ran by ESS Consulting in an attempt to get ahead of the game relating to the forthcoming government licensing of investigators, I would like to offer a few impartial words.  ESS turned what could have been a very dry subject into an excellent training package.  Not expecting to learn much in terms of regulations I found the course to be pitched at the right level, very interesting debates and some excellent case studies to put into practice what we’d been taught.

No doubt there will be many training businesses jumping on the bandwagon offering this qualification with little or no experience in investigation so BEWARE of who you choose.  Fact, there are few within the industry that have as much commercial experience as ESS and that’s what turned potentially dry subject into an interesting and informative course.

I would definitely recommend this course that has set the benchmark for others to follow.

M Thompson
Ex Military Warrant Officer & Full Member of The Association of British Investigators 


M Thompson Ex Military Warrant Officer & Full Member of The Association of British Investigators March 7, 2014

I served 30 years in The Metropolitan Police Force, 27 of them as a career Detective. A great deal of this time was spent combating major crime by investigation and surveillance. I retired in 2002 and have been a Private Investigator since.

Although I still have a working knowledge of investigative procedures and chain of evidence, this course was of great benefit to me, not only as a refresher, but more importantly brought me up to date with, and highlighted shortcomings I had in relation to recent legislation changes and the requirements currently in place governing the investigation sector.

The course, was interesting, properly structured and most importantly, well delivered and should be one to seriously consider attending no matter whether you are an experienced operative, have some knowledge or a complete novice.

Brian Lodge
Napier Lodge Investigations Ltd 

Brian Lodge Napier Lodge Investigations Ltd March 7, 2014

I attended the February 2014 Professional Investigator Level 3 course that Jason ran I have to say I was a little sceptical as what it would be about and would I really benefit from it !!!! All I will say is it's cleared up lots of grey areas of knowing where the boundary is when carrying out investigations, which can only be a good thing. One thing is for sure this ISN'T AN ATTENDANCE COURSE. Read your pre course handouts you will need them !!! 

Thanks for an excellent course 

John Featherstone
Ex UK Military

John Featherstone Ex UK military March 7, 2014

I have no hesitation in recommending surveillancetraining.com

Having worked at the higher end of intelligence gathering for 23 years as a dedicated surveillance operative with the Specialist Operations unit (SCD11) at New Scotland Yard, I retired and jointly formed a new a company  ’Surveillance Limited’, specialising in intelligence gathering and surveillance for the private sector. I, I’m sure like many experienced operatives was sceptical about the Level 3 qualification necessary for SIA licensing purpose.

On recommendation I attended the Professional Investigator Level 3 course ran by ESS Consulting in January 2014 and can say that I was impressed with both the common sense approach teaching style and the overall course content with its relevance to current working practises. I found the course to be beneficial from a number of aspects, which has enabled me to enhance the service we offer at Surveillance Limited.

Dave P.

Dave P. March 7, 2014

“My background is a Police trainer for 15 years and police officer for 4 years. I have trained over 12,000 police officers and do attend events doing security, like Glastonbury.

I attended the professional investigation L3 course in January 2014 with ESS Consulting. I found the tutors level of knowledge to be extensive and thoroughly enjoyed the course. I would recommend Jason and ESS L3 PI course, as training from someone active in the industry is far better than training from someone who is no longer operational.”

Ashley Heathcote
Freephone: 0800 999 4 112
Mobile: 0784 683 1 199

Ashley Heathcote March 7, 2014

I have been a Detective Inspector for 15 years of a 35 year police career. When serving I ran dedicated surveillance teams that work and train with association to the Security Services. I have been working privately as an investigator for seven years since retiring from service. I didn’t feel that training for the Level 3 Professional Investigator qualification was going to be of any benefit other than achieving the qualification for SIA licensing purpose. I was wrong and thoroughly enjoyed the course.  I found the selected case studies and instruction on various issues highly informative and valuable.  I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone with experience and those new to the industry.

B. Sole
Sole Security and Surveillance

Contact: solesecurity@hotmail.com

B Sole Sole Security and Surveillance March 7, 2014

I am a retired police officer, having served over 30 years in various roles including criminal investigation, surveillance and Special Branch. Since retiring in 2008 I have worked as a security consultant and investigator for a private company.

I have recently attended a course with ESS Consulting Ltd in February 2014 to gain a level 3 SIA endorsed qualification in Private Investigation, and would thoroughly recommend the course to anyone looking to gain this qualification.

Although I was sceptical about how useful the course would be to me, I benefited from refresher training on what I should have known as well as new information and legislation that I didn’t, which enabled me to pass the exam and gain the qualification

A. P.

A.P. March 7, 2014

I enrolled on the ESS Professional Investigation Level 3 course as a step towards becoming licensed. I found the course very informative and was able to learn about recent changes in legislation as well refresh my memory of current laws applicable to the industry. There were also some very useful practical investigatory tips which I will definitely be able to make use of in the future. All of the material was delivered by Jason in an interesting and understandable way with relevant case study examples. I would recommend attending this course with ESS Consulting.

Ex Met Detective & Surveillance Unit 30 years

MN Ex Met Detective & Surveillance Unit 30 years March 7, 2014