A private detective or a private investigator (PI) is a person, who is hired by an individual or an organization/company, to undertake investigation and verification related work. Private detective often works in a very wide range of area, most of them work for both personal as well as corporate sector. Some of the private detective companies specializes in certain areas like banking, insurance, intellectual property right etc. It’s a highly discrete services and often advertised through word of mouth and references. If a person has to hire a private detective and he/she does not know any, it becomes very difficult for him/her to hire a suitable investigator. Another very important aspect involve is sharing of information, which renders a person’s privacy and the mercy of the private detective. Often a person has to give his confidential information to a detective before beginning the work, likewise companies and corporate clients also have to share very confidential information, therefore one needs to be very careful while choosing a private detective.
It is always wise to do a basic homework before hiring a private detective or investigator. A little bit of research and application of mind can help you hire the best PI for you. Here are certain tips which can help you choose and hire a private detective: –
- Local regulations, license and insurance – Every country and state have different constitution and laws. That is why it becomes very important to see whether the private detective follows all the regulations, as formulated by the local authorities. Some of the local authorities give license to private investigators. In some countries the private detective needs to be insured, in these countries it will be illegal to work with a PI who was not taken insurance. while there is need of license in some countries, in some others license it not mandatory. In United States of America, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada etc. License is needed, whereas a country like India only registration with government is sufficient and in China a private detective cannot work where Government agencies are working or court proceedings are in progress.
- Work Experience and Background – It is very important to see the background of private detective before allocating any work to them. Investigations is a very wide field and involves a lot of planning and techniques. Therefore, only an experienced private detective should be hired for complex cases. In certain cases, like criminal cases and cases related to court proceedings, only those detectives should be hired who have prior work experience with any government investigation agencies like police. The experience of private detective matters a lot because, observation and comprehension are key aspects in the field of investigation. A keen observation and ability to comprehend distorted facts can only be developed by virtue of experience.
- Generalist or Specialist? – Most of the detective’s work as a generalist who can solve cases related to personal investigation, matrimonial investigation, background check, divorce cases, infidelity cases, extra marital affair cases, missing person cases, corporate investigation, due diligence, employee verification, market intelligence etc. These cases do not require any special skills and can be handled by any seasoned investigator, however, there are some cases which needs specialization. Cases related to cyber crime, computer forensics, data recovery, data theft, information technology investigation, forensic investigation, finger print investigation etc. should only be given to those detectives who specializes in these field by virtue of his/her qualification and academic experience. Also, there are sectors which need a detective who is well acquainted with the process of those sectors only. Notable amount some such sectors are banking and insurance. The cases of banking and insurance should be delicated to only those detectives who knows the working regulations of these sectors.
- Trustworthiness, Reputation and Credibility – A private detective should be a very trustworthy person who can strictly maintain the confidentiality of his/her client. There should not be any adverse report about the private detective. It should be insured that the person is credible and has a good background of dealing with cases and maintaining the privacy of the client. The Private Investigators should also be very reputed person in society. To ensure the trustworthiness, the client should check the reviews of the private detective available on reviews website as well as internet. One should not feel shy about asking for work references from a private detective. Although some private detectives will not like to part away with the strictly confidential information of their client but certain white-collar job like corporate client etc. can be given as work reference to establish faith and trust. The private detective should be experienced and the company which he/she works should be reputed, there shouldn’t be any adverse and questionable record in his profile.
- Staff and Investigator of Detective Agency – Most of the private detective do not work in a unitary fashion but do a team work. Therefore, detective agencies, ensure that they have sufficient people in their pay role for smooth functioning and investigation. The qualification and experience of the staff as well as investigator should be verified by the client before paying money to a detective agency. The team of investigator should be well qualified, professional, experienced, hardworking and logical. They should be able to handle cases assigned. Although, it is against the trade practice of giving the details of the actual agent who works in field, but the prospective client can ask about the experience of agent.
- Contract and Financial Aspects – After one go through the initial screening the conditions of contract should be studied, also a comparative analysis of finance and quotation made by detective agency should be evaluated. There are certain detectives who charge exorbitant fees, which is out of sink with market prices. Such a detective can prove to be greedy person, hence should be avoided.
- Office Locations – The location of private detective’s office also matters a lot and if the office is located in the city where investigation has to be conducted then the cost of investigation is usually lower and chances of success will be more because the private detective would definitely have resources in his own operating city.
- Written and Sample Report – Detective agencies in some cases give written report. A typical cases of pre-matrimonial enquiry, due diligence, financial investigation etc. are not based on any photographs or videos but only written submissions and report. In such cases written sample reports should be seen by clients to see the expectations and outcome of investigations. In all these sample reports detective agency changes the real name and address of the client and subject (in order to protect their identity), but the sample report give crucial insight of what to expect from investigation. Private detective may also be caught during investigation and his cover blown, in order to prevent oneself from legal tentacles, it is prudent to sign a Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA) with the private detective. The clause should categorically state that if the detective is caught in the act or any damage to his/her Equipements or life or limb happens then the client shall not bear any cost for it.
- To See Whether there is Any Criminal Case in Past and Whether a Private Detective Employ Illegal Method to Extract Information – Detective agencies often work in a very grey area and in order to secure evidences they often resort to illegal methods, in this process several private detectives have landed in trouble. If a detective employs illegal method and is caught in the act, in that case the client become accomplish to the crime. Therefore, in the very beginning a categorical contract should be made to the affect that if the private detective employs illegal means and violates the law of land then he/she does so, on his/her own peril. By this clause the client can absolve himself of any wrong doing done by private detective.
- Witness in Court – Not all cases have happy ending and many cases handled by a private investigator ends up in judicial proceedings, a Private Investigator is required to support the findings in court, therefore, the contract agreement should clearly mention that any evidence gathered by private detective shall be exhibited in court and the private detective shall bear testimony to this affect as a witness. A simple case scenario is that a detective clicks certain photographs and videos of a cheating spouse, then that video or photograph may not be admissible in court, but if the detective gives statement to the effect, that he/she clicked those photograph and videos on any given date and time then that photograph or video become admissible in court subject to the detective’s cross examination by defense lawyer.
- Guarantee of Result – Although the outcome of investigation can never be foreseen or predicted but in some cases the investigation are always result oriented and therefore the guarantee of success rate should be ensured beforehand. An illustration is that if anyone claims to be unemployed but is gainfully employed and goes to the office daily, then the private detective easily finds his/her working and guarantee of result in such cases should be taken by detective.
- Associations, Certifications and Awards – The private detective should be part of some association and union of people working in such capacities. If the private detective owns an agency then the agency needs to be certified and award winning. The credibility of such association should be found out from internet or other sources.
By acting a bit smart and following the instructions as laid above, one can easily figure out the best private detective in his area. Private detectives normally save people and their services are invaluable. DDS Management Solutions Pvt. Ltd. Is one such private detective agency which goes by the rule book. Its primary area of operation is in India, where it is popularly known as DDS Detectives.