What can tracing agents legally do in the UK?


When you want to trace an individual, you may look at hiring a private investigator or tracing agent. They will usually cover a range of circumstances, from missing persons and locating assets to finding a witness or locating someone who has absconded from financial responsibilities. All investigations are carried out in full compliance with UK law.

What is a tracing agent?

Tracing agents are part of the private investigation industry and are specialists in locating an individual or asset. Due to the nature of this type of investigation, tracing agents will often work covertly so they do not alert an individual to the search.

What are tracing agents legally allowed to do in the UK?

There are many urban myths around private investigators, and this holds true for tracing agents as well. Thanks to TV and cinema, many people believe private investigations can be conducted without penalty and that private investigators hold powers similar to that of the police. However, it is simply not true. All tracing agents are held to the same UK law as everyone else. So, how do you know the tracing agent you hired is carrying out an investigation ethically and legally? Take a look at our list of what tracing agents are legally allowed to do in the UK, so you are fully prepared should you need to locate an individual.

  • GPS Vehicle Tracking: Private investigators are legally allowed to track vehicles using GPS as long as the owner of a vehicle, or fleet of vehicles, has consented to the tracking of those vehicles using state-of-the-art GPS technology. Although there is little likelihood of needing this service if you have no idea where someone is, it can be useful for tracing the whereabouts of employees when using company vehicles.
  • Surveillance: Tracing agents can covertly monitor and follow a person of interest or vehicle as long as they do so from public property. They are also allowed to take photographic evidence of any wrongdoing.
  • Background Checks: A thorough background check is often key to locating an individual. Tracing agents can access all public records, including criminal records and unsealed court documents, as well as access databases that may not be accessible to the public. While private documents, including credit reports, can only be viewed with the express permission of the owner, public documents and records will often provide the necessary information to enable a private investigator to conduct a thorough background check, and can help identify the location of the subject of the investigation.
  • Electronic Surveillance: A good tracing agent will usually have available the latest in innovative technology to be able to survey and monitor a range of media. With permission, they can legally access video and audio recordings, corporate phone call records and computer activity to find out information relevant to your case.
  • Technological forensics: If it is necessary and under certain circumstances, tracing agents can carry out mobile phone and computer forensics to recover deleted information. This is particularly useful when trying to trace an individual who has left behind a technical device such as a phone or laptop

Unfortunately, the private investigation industry is not regulated by a government body, which means there are many disreputable companies that take advantage and conduct investigations that are outside the law. Any good tracing agent will be able to locate an individual without having to resort to unlawful means, so if you hire a tracing agent or private investigator and they offer to break the law in order to find someone, please report to the police immediately.

You can separate the bad from the good by looking for private investigation companies that are a part of UK recognised trade bodies, such as the Association of British Investigators (ABI) who hold all their members to a high standard of ethics code.

Tracing agents from OpSec Solutions

If you need to trace an individual, then you need a reliable private investigator or tracing agent from a company you trust. We use a combination of technology, software, attention to detail and years of experience to provide a fast, efficient location service for all your needs.

Our specialist tracing agents and private investigators can work with agencies across the country to trace an individual and have the experience and knowledge needed to get the results you need. We understand that confidentiality is key when tracing an individual which is why we can conduct any investigation covertly and with full discretion about the nature of the search. We are proud of our reputation as a private investigation company you can trust so if you require any confidential guidance or advice on tracing an individual, you can rely on us to be sympathetic and create a strategy tailored to your circumstances.

We are proud members of the Association of British Investigators (ABI), the UK Professional Investigators Network (UKPIN), Institute of Professional Investigators (IPI) and the World Association of Professional Investigators (WAPI). This means you can be assured of both our quality and our code of ethics when tracing an individual or asset.

Our specialist tracing agents can assess your circumstances and requirements and may ask for any information you have on the individual you want to trace, which enables us to give you a clear price, so you can be rest assured there will be no unexpected and hidden costs.

Of course, the level of information you can provide differs from case to case, but generally, we require:

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Any previous known addresses

We will consult with you to gain as much information as possible before starting to research your case. We will constantly keep you updated with your case and anything we discover; you will stay aware of.

OpSec Solutions is highly experienced in location services and has a proven track record of delivering actionable results quickly, and with the utmost discretion. Our team of professionals can provide a bespoke service that accommodates the needs of your case, without incurring any hidden costs. Get in touch today using our contact form on the website or call us on 0844-664-1125 to discuss your options and find out how OpSec Solutions can help you.

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