Private Investigation Abroad

Private Investigation Abroad

Sometimes, a case that requires the services of a Private Investigation firm is not confined to the U.K. Certain cases, including missing persons and suspicions of fraud, can involve the gathering of evidence in overseas locations. For the client, this can be intimidating, with concerns about having to deal with multiple Private Investigation firms in multiple languages and jurisdictions. This does not need to be the case, however, as reputable and professional Private Investigators can legitimately travel overseas to work with local officials, determine the truth of the case, and collect comprehensive and actionable evidence.

Working within the law

When a Private Investigation firm is committed to working ethically and within the law, the scope of investigations is greatly broadened. This approach ensures that the operatives of that firm adhere to the legal and regulatory restrictions that apply to whichever territory they are required to work within, which can include cases where the trail of evidence leads to an overseas location, or where mobile surveillance of an individual takes personnel across borders – even unexpectedly.

This stems from a specific level of training and expertise that ensures Private Investigation operatives remain fully aware of laws and regulations in each territory through which they travel. Personnel are then able to guarantee that any evidence gathered and collated remains admissible in any legal proceedings that may result from those enquiries. This includes the various rules regarding the collection, processing and storage of personal and private data.

There have been a number of cases reported in the media, in which Private Investigation abroad has been a significant factor. The most famous, currently, is perhaps the case of Madeline McCann who disappeared from a holiday apartment in Portugal, aged three years, in 2007. Over time, as the case continued, fundraising campaigns allowed for the hire of several different Private Investigation firms to follow up potential leads. More recently, the case of the disappearance of Kent resident Louise Kerton in Germany in 2001 has returned to the headlines, with her family hoping to uncover new information. Private Investigators were involved in the case in its earliest days, liaising with local law enforcement to track down leads.

These high profile cases highlight the specific types of skills required of Private Investigators in dealing with cases that have international scope. Personnel must be seasoned global travellers with detailed knowledge of linguistics and cultural differences. This enables Private Investigators to not only work well with local investigators, but to also conduct their own investigations while remaining entirely covert. This level of operation greatly increases the likelihood of valuable and actionable evidence being gathered, and a conclusive result being achieved.

Getting to the truth

The goal of professional Private Investigators is always to get to the truth. This can take different forms and can require different strategies, depending on the nature of the case.

  • Missing persons – Where a friend or relative has unexpectedly disappeared, getting to the truth can involve tracing the individual, or confirming whether they have been the victim of a criminal offence. This process can include elements of surveillance, as well as multiple background checks.
  • Fraud – Where fraud has been committed or is currently taking place in a way that involves overseas territories, getting to the truth can involve tracking the movement of suspects, funds or digital activity through multiple jurisdictions, as well as conducting background checks on the individuals suspected of involvement.
  • Process serving – Where legal notices or court orders need to be served on an individual overseas, getting to the truth involves identifying the location of the individual and ensuring that the paperwork is correctly delivered.
  • Debt recovery – Where a debt has been incurred and the person that is liable is known to be overseas, getting to the truth can involve tracing that person, as well as gathering financial evidence to clarify the nature of their assets, and their ability to pay.
  • Matrimonial and custody – Where matrimonial issues exist – including divorce and suspicions of infidelity, getting to the truth can involve surveillance, background checks and witness interviews. Those cases involving custody issues can also require these services in order to get to the truth about the location of children and the circumstances in which they are living or travelling.
  • Accident or insurance – Where an accident happens overseas, or an insurance claim is being made for an incident abroad, getting to the truth can involve background checks, surveillance and the gathering of witness statements.
  • Tenancy issues – Where a property is owned overseas and is let as a rented space through a tenancy agreement, getting to the truth can involve background checks on potential or existing tenants. Where suspicions of sub-letting exist, surveillance can be deployed to collect the necessary evidence.

Evidence gathering methods

The methods and strategies deployed in investigations abroad mirror those deployed domestically, in the U.K. This includes being carried out in ways that ensure the investigation stays within the law of the territory, jurisdiction, or country in which the operation is being conducted. While this may sound simple, it is made increasingly complex by the impact of borders on data transfer. Though the gathering of information and evidence in another country may be governed by one set of laws, the transfer across borders can have a significant impact in terms of additional regulations. This is especially important when it comes to digital information.


Covert surveillance operations are a highly effective way of gathering actionable evidence.

  • Mobile surveillance – Tracking a person on foot, by car, or on public transport can help get to the truth in a number of scenarios. Cutting edge, innovative recording technology also means that documentary evidence can be gathered during the surveillance.
    • Static surveillance – By monitoring a single location with video and photography equipment, Private Investigators can get to the truth about activity at that spot, as well as the identity of people involved.
    • Electronic surveillance – Provided you own the equipment or network involved, you can give permission for Private Investigators to deploy electronic surveillance of video and audio recordings, business phone call records, computer activity and even vehicle tracking technology. This can help get to the truth of fraud cases and suspicions of employee dishonesty.

Using only publicly available information – including birth, marriage and death records, property registers, business registers, financial records, criminal records, and driving records – skilled Private Investigators can get to the truth about any person. This can be invaluable in any case, but is particularly informative in terms of fraud, tenancy issues, accident or insurance claims and debt recovery.

  • Data tracking

In cases of cyber-crime and cyber-fraud, data tracking can be an essential tool for Private Investigation. The most up to date technologies allow skilled investigators to identify digital information and follow the trail – even across borders and into other jurisdictions. The knowledge and expertise around data protection regulations are vital in these operations, for the purpose of ensuring that all evidence gathered is admissible in court.

  • Person tracing

Specialist software allows professional Private Investigators to narrow down fields of examination and identify the trail left by a person that needs to be traced, without alerting the target. This strategy can be valuable in cases of debt recovery and fraud as much as it is in cases of missing persons. It can also be deployed in conjunction with other methods, such as surveillance and background checks, across different territories.

The global reach of OpSec Solutions

The team of experts that makes up the OpSec Solutions Private Investigation firm is specially trained to enable operation on an international basis. This means that actionable intelligence can be legally and ethically sourced and delivered from any location in the world. OpSec Solutions investigators are supported by dedicated office-based staff who are specifically tasked with handling the red tape and documentation associated with urgent, last-minute travel. These professionals are able to swiftly and accurately process all data gathered through overseas assignments.

This level of professionalism has garnered OpSec Solutions a range of accreditations, memberships and registrations from organisations such as the Association of British Investigators, the U.K Private Investigator Network, the Institute of Professional Investigators, and the Information Commissioner’s Office. These endorsements are the mark of reliability, and an indication of the type of discretion and personal service that clients can expect.

When you are considering the possibility of hiring a Private Investigation firm for a case that may have international scope, the anticipated cost can be intimidating and discouraging. OpSec Solutions can discuss your requirements with you in order to determine the exact nature of overseas implications. This way, the team can provide an accurate, no-obligation quote to enable you to plan your strategies properly. It is here that the use of innovative methodologies and technologies make all the difference, with OpSec experts knowing exactly how to provide the very best value for money in terms of personalised, customised service.

Call OpSec Solutions today to find out more about how our team of experts can help with your international case.

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