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What do Private Investigators do?

Posted: 21st June 2021

What do private investigators do?

This is a question that can be answered quickly and succinctly in a lot of businesses for example we fit kitchens, we look after your accounts, we coach you in business development.

In the world of private investigation, and here at Hawk Detective Services, the work is so varied with lots of different cases that can be worked on. It will help then if I set out a list of the ones I can think of while writing this article:

They can perhaps be split into work we would and in many cases have carried out for individual clients and then work we would carry out on behalf of a business.

How can a private investigator help you as an individual?

  • Tracing missing people which could be family, friends or former colleagues
  • Surveillance in marital disputes
  • Maintenance disputes and tracing assets
  • Background checks for example going into a new relationship, meeting someone online
  • Neighbourhood checks before buying a house in that area
  • Neighbour disputes

What type of private investigations may a business need?

  • Claims investigations – employee sickness, accident investigation, employment related injury, compensation, discrimination cases
  • Company investigations – carrying out investigations into companies they intend to work with, checking out new customers, due diligence, internal fraud investigations, business sabotage
  • Company research – including gathering intelligence on competitors and carrying out risk assessments
  • De-bugging sweeps and office checks
  • Debtor tracing
  • Digital Media examination – computers, phones and other devices
  • Life style checks – senior employees, people companies are thinking of employing
  • Mystery Shopping – checking how the business operates when you aren’t there
  • Pre-employment checks for example references, CV’S
  • Staff Investigations – sickness, internal theft, passing on confidential information
  • Surveillance – including foot, static and mobile
  • Tenant screening

Law Firms and Solicitors often hire a private investigator to:

  • Process serving locally, nationally and internationally
  • People tracing
  • Criminal Case reviews
  • Debtor tracing for clients
  • Pre-action investigation before raising a claim
  • Witness Statement taking
  • Interviews
  • Road traffic Collision investigations
  • Accident investigations for example in the workplace
  • Criminal proceedings which could be claimant or defendant
  • Litigation support

There are also a wide range of general services we can offer:

Why else may I need to hire a private investigator?

  • Accident claim investigations
  • Adoption investigations
  • Anti-Corruption
  • Asset investigation
  • Assisting Bailiffs
  • Assisting Counsel in court cases
  • Bankruptcy
  • Blackmail
  • Child Minder investigations
  • Civil Proceedings
  • Computer crime
  • Copyright infringement
  • Corporate Security
  • Counterfeit goods
  • Credit vetting
  • Criminal Case investigations
  • Crime Prevention
  • Debt recovery
  • Due Diligence
  • Employers’ liability investigations
  • Expert witnesses
  • Financial investigations
  • Forensic Accounting
  • Forensic Science Services
  • Fraud investigations
  • Fraud prevention
  • Genealogy investigations
  • Information Security
  • Life Insurance claims investigations
  • Locating missing animals
  • Locating missing property
  • Missing Person enquiries
  • Mortgage investigations
  • Obtaining means related statements
  • Patent Infringement
  • Planning applications
  • Private medical claims
  • Product contamination
  • Property Claims
  • Public Liability investigations
  • Security Surveys
  • Test Purchasing
  • Theft of goods in transit
  • Tracing beneficiaries
  • Travel claims investigations
  • Undercover operations
  • Vehicle and other property repossession
  • Vehicle tracking

How do I hire a private investigator?

Due to the types of investigation a client might want being so wide-ranging, Hawk Detective Services put a lot of value in our free initial consultation. This gives you the opportunity to explain the situation, what the problem is and more importantly what you want done about it.

This is important as it gives us the opportunity to go through the best option to progress a case in a way that works for you. There have been situations in the past where we haven’t taken a case on because we have been able to direct the potential client to the Police or another agency who may be able to assist. In some cases, the client hasn’t been aware that action they are requesting may be illegal.

Once the client and Hawk Detective Services are content to proceed a “term of reference” is drawn up, this sets out what the client wants to be done, the timescales and agreement over payment.

Investing in a professional investigation can save businesses and individuals a lot of money over a longer term. For example, knowing that one of your employees isn’t representing your business as they should or a partner/spouse is having an affair can put you in the driving seat and give you the tools you need, help you consider your next move and give you the chance to stay a step ahead and get appropriate plans into place.

So, what is again, that private investigators do?

You will have gathered from the above lists – perhaps more than you thought!

If you are thinking of hiring an investigation company, be it Hawk Detective Services of any other make sure they are the right fit for you in terms of their credentials, integrity and confidentiality. These ingredients are essential to ensure your private information is going to be handled sensitively and carefully. For example, Hawk Detective Services have Public Liability Insurance and are registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

What I should say before I finish is there are always likely to be other investigations that can be added to the above list so don’t be afraid to discuss your individual or business requirements with your investigation company.

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Business Comment is the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce’s bi-monthly magazine. It provides insight on Edinburgh’s vibrant business community, with features on the city’s key sectors, interviews with leading figures and news on new business developments in the capital.
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