There are many reasons to consider hiring a private investigator, maybe you suspect your partner is cheating on you, you are worried about a tenant, you need close protective services or you want to help trace a missing person. In all these cases, and more, you may believe you need initial evidence to present to a private investigator or private investigative firm to either support your suspicions or to provide a reason for the investigation. Although any information is always helpful to a case, the requirements can vary depending on the specific circumstances and ultimately ,you do not need any evidence to hire a private investigator. We are here to get evidence or data for you.
What is more important than any evidence you already have is having a clear objective for the investigation. Private investigators need to know what they are looking for in order to conduct an effective investigation. Your objective should be specific and focused, and should provide the investigator with any details they may need to help with the investigation.
In this article, we will give you all the information you need about private investigators or private detectives in the UK.
What is a private investigator?
A private investigator is usually a person from a professional police or military background that specialises in surveillance and is employed by someone else to investigate a matter. This can be a personal matter, business matter or simply for security purposes.
For example, if you suspect that your spouse is cheating on you, you may hire a private investigator to conduct surveillance and gather evidence of infidelity. Alternatively, if you suspect that an employee is stealing from your company, a private investigator may be able to conduct an investigation to gather evidence of wrongdoing.
What are private investigators legally allowed to do in the UK?
Private investigation is often inaccurately portrayed in the media, so there can be confusion about what a private investigator is or isn’t legally allowed to do. All private investigators are bound by UK law and any appropriate rules and regulations.
Unlike the police, private investigators have no specific powers allocated to them simply because of their job. However, using their surveillance training and experience, they can legally search and examine public records and publicly available social media accounts and will often pay fees for access to documents and records not readily available to the public. Private investigators will also use innovative technology to identify the digital footprint left by an individual and collect any evidence needed to take the situation further.
But what else can they do?
- 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. This allows Private Investigators to gather evidence in cases of suspected vehicle misuse, moonlighting, and corporate sabotage.
- Surveillance: Private investigators can covertly monitor and follow a person of interest or vehicle if they do so from public property. They are also allowed to take photographic evidence of any wrongdoing.
- Background Checks: With social media ever more prevalent, 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.
- Counter Surveillance: If you believe you are being targeted, either personally or professionally, private investigators are allowed to use counter surveillance techniques and technologies such as blockers and electronic sweeps.
- Monitoring: Private investigators can monitor activity on a workplace computer network or work phone system when authorised by the owner/company.
- Technological forensics: Under certain circumstances, private investigators can carry out mobile phone and computer forensics to recover deleted information.
Private investigative firms can often provide other security measures, such as close protection, 24hr monitoring of buildings and a range of risk management services.
As the industry is not currently regulated in the UK, if you are thinking of hiring a private investigator, it is best to employ the services of one that is a member of at least one of the industry trade bodies, such as the Association of British Investigators (ABI) who hold their members to an ethics code. Although not legally bound, having an ethics code can reassure clients that they take their role and responsibilities seriously, and if at any point a private investigator offers to break the law during an investigation then it needs to be reported to both the police and any organisation they are associated with.
What can they investigate?
Every private detective and private investigator in the UK will have different services they provide and specialise in, but most private investigation firms will investigate the following issues:
- Relationship and matrimonial – This may be suspicions of partner infidelity, evidence needed for divorce proceedings or child custody arrangements and background checks of new partners. Private investigators can use surveillance, background checks, and other tactics to gather evidence of cheating or provide the details needed to support a court case
- Tracing – Private investigators can help locate missing persons, including runaway children, estranged family members, or debtors, or finding a beneficiary or witness, or tracing a lost asset
- Fraud – Types of fraud commonly investigated by private detectives are; insurance fraud including fake accidents and injury claims, employee theft or absence, embezzlement, and false accounting
- Illicit Activity – Surveillance services provided by private investigators can cover subletting, anti-social behaviour, fly-tipping, and drug dealing
- Stalking – Private investigators can help with matters of stalking, both physical and online by employing counter surveillance measures and close protection services
- Background Checks – Private investigators can conduct background checks on individuals or companies for a variety of reasons, including pre-employment screening, due diligence, or legal cases.
- Cyber Crime – This may include online harassment or abuse, computer and network breaches, fake profiles, and identity theft
- Employee Misconduct – Private investigators can investigate allegations of employee misconduct, such as theft, fraud, or harassment. They can conduct interviews, gather evidence, and provide documentation to support legal action.
- Corporate espionage – Private investigators can investigate allegations of corporate espionage, such as theft of proprietary information or competitive intelligence.
Other services provided by private investigation firms in the UK are Close protection services, which is the physical protection of client(s) from any possible threat of harm and process serving, which is serving court documents and litigation support.
What evidence can they provide?
Any investigation is serious business; therefore, it is important that with any outcome of an investigation there is a compilation of reports and actionable evidence. By actionable evidence we mean evidence that you can either act upon yourself, such as confront a cheating partner, or report someone for fly-tipping. We can also provide court admissible evidence for more serious investigations that require you to take a matter further.
Evidence may include a report consisting of GPS tracking records, photographs, videos, and documents. However, It is important to note that private investigators must operate within the bounds of the law and follow ethical standards. They must have a valid reason for conducting an investigation and obtain the necessary permissions and authorisations. If you are considering hiring a private investigator, it is important to choose a reputable and experienced professional who operates legally and ethically as any evidence that has been obtained illegally, will not only be of no legal use in a court of law, but may also get you into trouble and may do irreparable harm to your case.
Private Investigation with OpSec Solutions
If you are looking to hire a private investigator in the UK, you want to be sure that they have the knowledge, the skills and the experience required to do the job efficiently and often discreetly.
Our expert security and intelligence team are at the heart of what we offer. Every member of the team has a professional background with invaluable experience, whether that’s military, policing, government, or the corporate sector. Drawing upon this wealth of experience and expertise, we can provide clients with the results they need, from hard evidence to robust security.
OpSec Solutions operates across the UK and overseas. With offices in London and Manchester, we can provide a prompt response to any callouts in the North and South of England as we have local private investigators across the nation. Wherever you are based, we will provide a local service with a fast response and no compromise on the results.
We understand that the trust factor is invaluable when it comes to private investigations, especially in personal matters. You do not want to pay money for a private investigation only to become involved with illegalities or end up with zero court-admissible evidence.
As evidence can only be used if it has been obtained legally, it is vitally important for you to put your trust in a private detective or private investigation firm that can get you the results in a legal and ethical manner, whilst conducting themselves and their operation with the highest of standards to produce quality, effective results. This is best practice throughout private, personal, corporate, or commercial investigations.
With over 10 years of experience, OpSec Solutions have earned full accreditations from the Association of British Investigators, the Institute of Professional Investigators, and the U.K Professional Investigators Network. This means that, when employing any of the services provided by OpSec Solutions, you have peace of mind that these experts will find the truth and any private investigative services, methods and techniques are carried out ethically, legally and with full confidentiality.
If you are unsure as to whether your issue would be covered by a private investigative firm, then here at OpSec Solutions we work with solicitors, loss adjusters and insurance companies, small businesses and individuals, and even large enterprises who can subcontract their surveillance and investigative needs to our capable team. We have developed a reputation for unwavering reliability and impeccably high standards. Whether it’s an individual or business, we work tirelessly for our clients – to deliver the results they need.
Want to know more about the private investigator services we provide, our state-of-the-art technology, and how we could help you? Then please contact us today.