Private investigators keeping watch in surveillance room

How do private investigators do surveillance?

Private investigators have a multitude of roles and will fulfil a variety of requirements depending on the needs of the client. The most common form of investigation is surveillance, as it is an effective way to obtain information without breaking any laws or codes of conduct.

How private investigators carry out surveillance will depend on each individual case, but in most instances, private investigators will have rules and principles that they must adhere to.

What does a private investigator do?

Thanks to crime-drama TV programmes and detective films, people often have skewed ideas of what private investigator work entails. Private investigators therefore often struggle with misconceptions about the technicalities of detective work.

Private investigators usually gather evidence using observation and tracking techniques. Common duties include monitoring and tracking, personal background checks, tracing missing people, employee absenteeism and history checks and investigating fraud and theft.

Contrary to popular belief, private detectives are not allowed to trespass on private property, bug phones or hack computers or emails. These investigative methods breach the Guide & Policy published by the Association of British Investigators.

Legal methods of surveillance

The most common form of investigation among PIs is surveillance, as it’s an easy way to acquire evidence without getting into legal difficulty. Private Investigators are allowed to use various surveillance methods, providing they are non-invasive and don’t break any stalking laws.

With this in mind, it is perfectly legal to hire a private investigator for surveillance, as long as the company of your choosing operate in an ethical and professional manner. Legitimate private investigator firms will follow legal regulations and specific codes of conduct depending on the country they are operating in.

Private investigator with camera recording photographic evidence

How do private investigators run a surveillance operation?

Surveillance is the art of monitoring a subject’s activities through close observation. A surveillance operation usually runs along the following lines:

  1. Once you have submitted your inquiry, a PI will get back to you to confirm your personal details and what you would like to discover from the operation.
  2. Your PI will set out to track the subject’s activities, locating their home address and place of work.
  3. Where possible, your PI may place a hidden GPS tracker on the target’s vehicle.
  4. The private investigator will covertly watch the subject, maintaining a detailed written report and recording video and photographic evidence.
  5. The report will be presented to you (the client). You’ll then be able to decide if there is enough evidence to confront the subject with.
  6. If you decide you’d like to take the subject to court, the reports made by your PI can be used as tangible evidence in a court of law.

It is essential that surveillance is done in a covert manner to ensure the subject is unaware they are being monitored. This often means tracking the subject’s whereabouts with on foot or vehicle GPS tracking methods.

At Trojan Surveillance, we specialise in covert surveillance techniques. All our investigations are carried out by highly-skilled, specialist private investigators. Our team can locate a person’s home address, place of work and investigate their background and lifestyle while remaining undetected.

Our PIs utilise proximity surveillance in buildings using hidden cameras and keeping watch from specially equipped static vans. Our static vehicles have a normal-looking exterior to remain discrete but inside are kitted out with specialist surveillance equipment.

Although our PIs are fully licensed and insured to follow a subject, they are not licensed to run red lights or drive in a dangerous manner to keep up with the target. This means we may lose sight of the driver temporarily but will be able to locate them again using our specialist GPS tracking technology.

Our surveillance operators will always work within the boundaries of the law, refraining from trespassing on private property and making sure not to violate any stalking laws. All our investigations, including the deployment and use of GPS Electronic Tracking Devices, comply with the Association of British Investigators’ regulations.

Private investigator using binoculars to do surveillance

How much does surveillance cost?

Surveillance investigations can cost anywhere from £50 to £200 an hour, depending on the type of work and the size of the team required. The exact price will vary depending on each individual case, with some companies charging flat rates for certain types of investigation.

Various factors can affect the cost of surveillance work, including:

  • The estimated time frame of the job.
  • When the surveillance will take place.
  • The number of investigators working the case.
  • If there are any special tools or surveillance equipment required.

Hiring a private investigator

At Trojan Surveillance, we offer fully licensed and insured private investigation services. From child custody, divorce and infidelity investigations to GPS vehicle tracking, we offer covert surveillance services so you can discreetly keep an eye on the important people in your life.

Our private investigators are always on hand to help, offering over-the-phone advice and same-day investigations. To inquire about our services, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

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