Surveillance in the UK: Everything you need to know

There is a lot of speculation around surveillance in the UK and what it involves. To help you separate fact from fiction, here at OpSec Solutions we have created a comprehensive guide with everything you need to know about surveillance. What it entails, who you should hire and what are the reasons you may need to conduct a surveillance investigation.

What is surveillance?

Surveillance is the continuous, close monitoring of a person, location, or activity to gain information or to watch over something for protection purposes.  

It is a tool utilised by the private investigation and security industry to help discover any corporate or personal wrongdoing and provide actionable evidence in cases where a legal fault or crime has been discovered.

Who provides surveillance services?

Traditionally, if you need surveillance on an individual for either personal or corporate reasons, this can be provided by a private investigator, private detective, or a surveillance company. Who you choose to hire may depend on the circumstances and the reasons behind you need surveillance.

Why might I need surveillance services?

Private investigators and surveillance companies can carry out general investigations and surveillance to cover a multitude of different reasons and for a range of different people or businesses. From illicit activity to tenancy fraud, they can implement surveillance and provide a full report as part of your investigation, including photos, videos, vehicle details and timings. This can give you the actionable evidence you need to take things further. The type of investigation that may need surveillance services can vary, but surveillance is a key element of the following types of cases and for the following reasons:

  • Subletting  
  • Close protection
  • Suspected infidelity
  • Stalking 
  • Fly-tipping  
  • Drug dealing  
  • Anti-social behaviour  
  • Benefit fraud 
  • Tracing a person of interest or asset tracing  
  • Corporate espionage 
  • Employee absence 
  • Insurance claims  
  • Infidelity claims 
  • Child custody arrangements  

If your reason for hiring a private investigator or surveillance company is not on the list, that does not mean it is not possible. We would always recommend discussing the details of your case with a private investigator so they can advise on the best course of action and give you help and advice on how they can help.

What surveillance methods will be used?

There are many surveillance techniques and solutions that can be used to help a private investigator with their case. However, a private investigator is bound by UK law, therefore, it is important to note that any private investigator that either offers to, or does, break the law during the course of an investigation, will be held to the same criminal charges as any member of the public and you may also face charges. So, to help you understand what methods and techniques your private investigator or surveillance company can do, here is a list of what is legally allowed under UK law and the most common methods of surveillance:

  • Mobile Surveillance 

Mobile surveillance is one of the most common techniques private investigators employ. This requires the covert monitoring and tracking of person(s) of interest across either by foot or by car and creating a dossier on their movements with supporting photographic and video evidence.  

  • Static Surveillance 

Static surveillance is when private investigators covertly monitor a particular location of interest and is legally allowed if they do so from public property. They are also allowed to take photographic or video evidence of any wrongdoing. This covert surveillance may be a house, an organisation, company building, vehicle or car park and may require continuous surveillance or monitoring at specific dates and times. The benefit of this surveillance technique is the ability to provide a full report of the location in question, including photos, videos, vehicle details and timings. As we said earlier in the blog post, this can give you actionable evidence and is particularly useful for proving subletting, fly-tipping, the breaking of custody arrangements and benefit fraud.    

  • Electronic Surveillance 

Private investigators are experts in using the latest technology to survey and monitor a range of media. They can monitor activity on a workplace computer network or work phone system when authorised by the owner/company and under certain circumstances, they can conduct mobile phone and computer forensics to recover deleted information.  

If they have permission to do so, they can access video and audio recordings, corporate phone call records and computer activity to find out information relevant to your case.  

  • GPS Tracking  

Private investigators are legally allowed to track vehicles using state of the art GPS tracking devices if the owner of a vehicle, or fleet of vehicles, has consented to the tracking of those vehicles using GPS technology. This allows Private Investigators to gather data and surveillance footage in cases of suspected vehicle misuse, moonlighting, and corporate sabotage, giving their client the data needed to prove wrongdoing in a court of law.  

  • Counter Surveillance

If you are a business or private company, then you may find yourself with a need for counter surveillance. This type of private investigation can help detect unlawful or unwanted monitoring. Whether it’s hidden cameras, voice recorders or covert tracking, private investigators can gain evidence of the perpetrators to help you put a stop to it. If you believe you are being targeted, either personally or professionally, private investigators are allowed to use counter surveillance techniques and the latest technologies such as blockers and electronic sweeps to help identify any security breaches and block any surveillance devices.

If you are wanting to take electronic counter measures to identify or prevent eavesdropping, then debugging must be carried out by a qualified operative who can carry out a full electronic sweep of the area.   

  • Background surveillance Checks: Although not technically surveillance in the truest sense of the term, history and background checks are often key sources of information for private investigators. They can access public and business records as well as private databases they have permission for and may form part of a comprehensive surveillance operation.

Surveillance from OpSec Solutions 

OpSec Solutions provides professional surveillance solutions for private companies, government, and council agencies as well as the general public. Operating throughout the UK and abroad, we provide the expertise and experience you need to find the truth.

We aim to provide an affordable, quality, surveillance service across the UK. We are a highly regarded, professionally accredited Private Investigation Firm with personnel across the country that provides evidence to court admissible standards in all cases that require actionable data. This requires the utmost discretion, sensitivity, and confidentiality, as well as strict adherence to ethical guidelines and data protection law.  

For most private investigations, specialised surveillance is required. From illegal subletting and fraudulent claims to infidelity or custody issues, our surveillance services provide the information you need to put your mind at rest – and the evidence you need to prove it in a court of law.  

From audible to digital, we use a wide range of advanced technology solutions to provide clients with usable & reliable HD footage & images, with time stamps, GPS tracking and daily logs also available.   

We understand that no case or investigation is the same, which is why here at OpSec wedon’t take a fixed approach to surveillance. We know that every case has its own requirements and complexities – whether it is a long-term static project or dynamic mobile surveillance that needs operatives in various locations. Therefore, the best service we can provide you, is a fully inclusive, bespoke package comprising all the investigative solutions you need. We will have an in-depth consultation with you to find out all your requirements and then put together a plan of attack with clear methodology. Crucially, all our private investigation packages come with custom pricing that we will be completely transparent about from start to finish.  

With headquarters for surveillance services London and in Manchester, and with agents across the UK and overseas, our mobile, static, electronic, corporate, and counter surveillance services are the ideal solution for Great Britain and beyond.   So, if you want to know more about the private investigator UK services we provide, including surveillance, and want to know how we could help you, then please contact us today using our contact form on the website, call us on 0844-664-1125 or email [email protected]

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