Private investigators – why you can’t believe everything you read

As professional private detectives we know that there’s a lot of misinformation about the work of private investigators. A recent example is an article in the Daily Mail about how private investigators are doing less and less work around infidelity. There are several major flaws in the article including the fact that marital problem work has rarely been central to the workflow of a professional private detective agency – it’s a specialised area that requires dedicated teams of investigators who work both online and in person, who are experienced in surveillance and who have the tact and diplomacy to ensure that their investigations are thorough but also completely invisible to the person under investigation so the client is given complete information about their situation and able to make decisions in their own time and with the support of a professional, experienced investigator.

Another point that the article fails to recognise is that the statistics quoted come from lawyers – it’s increasingly our experience that when a couple start to have problems that lead to one partner hiring a private detective, separation and other resolutions to the difficulties are very rarely ending up in court. The nature of evidence in matters of affairs and infidelity has changed since social media took over many people’s personal lives. It’s often the case that presented with unassailable evidence, the guilty party will concede and work out a solution without needing to involve the legal profession. So perhaps it’s not how much are private investigators involved in this area of work as how much are lawyers seeing the work that private detectives do to help clients resolve relationship problems?

Finally, there are always differences in culture and location. In New Delhi it seems that hiring a private detective to check up on your spouse is becoming more common!

How to find a private investigator

One of the difficulties that many of our clients experience is in trying to identify who is a truly professional private detective. Their problems are understandable – we don’t talk about our clients or share the details of our cases because that would be unprofessional, so how are clients to find out who to trust? One way is to explore whether the private detective agency they are talking to has experience at the business or governmental level because a private detective who is regularly consulted by major organisations can be trusted to be professional and experienced. As an example, the NHS has used private detective agency personnel 130 times in the past four years – in each case this has been to explore whether a patient who is claiming negligence is in fact experiencing the problems they claim and those detectives have found wheelchair users out dancing, and people claiming complete incapacity actually out working full time!