The work of a private detective is divided into three main areas: private, business and legal, although they often also work in the field of civil law rather than in criminal law.
Private detectives work for individuals when they are hired by an individual, for example, to search for a missing person, to monitor the behaviour of a parent with their children, or to collect evidence against neighbours who are uncivil or noisy.
At the beginning of every case, the detective discusses the possible options for the investigation and advises the client on what are the appropriate methods, before agreeing on an action plan.
How does a private investigator work?
Thanks to literature, the seventh art and television series, many people have a wrong image of what the private investigator does. According to these, it is a man who works under the shade, in a messy office, sometimes full of tobacco smoke and located in the poorest place in the city. From there, he attends to his clients – most of them women – who will raise their cases of conjugal infidelity.
Usually, the investigator’s job is to find proof of infidelity. For this, it goes after the search for useful information from witnesses, sometimes with the help of tricks or a “false profile” in social media.
Follow up, take photographs, record videos, make telephone interceptions, and look for addresses and telephones. Sometimes his curiosity gets him in trouble when he rummages in the wrong place, but he finally lets his clients know that he has solved the case.
A lot of fictional detectives have contributed with this image, from Sherlock Holmes and Philip Marlowe to the daring young apprentice private investigator Veronica Mars.
- Interview people to gather information about a case.
- Find details related to a case.
- Perform surveillance work.
- Work undercover to gather information.
- Collect the evidence to be presented in court.
- Investigate crimes.
- Deal with legal documents and court subpoenas.
- Investigate the background of an individual.
To be a private detective, it is required:
- Being able to work alone, for long periods of time, and also as a team.
- Have the ability to go unnoticed while following the suspect.
- Own self-discipline, patience and a high level of concentration, since sometimes they have to stay in one place (sitting in a car, for example) for a day or a whole night.
- Be observant, methodical, precise and objective.
- Have a high level of literacy for the writing of reports.
- Manage a large number of cases at once and maintain accurate records of each.
- Have excellent interpersonal skills to deal with all kinds of people, who may be anxious, upset or angry.
- Have empathy and the ability to get clients to feel safe and confident when they are questioned.
- Have evaluation tools to analyse people and the information obtained about them.
- Be sensitive to dealing with clients in sensitive cases, such as divorce.
- Be up to date on the knowledge of laws, regulations and legal procedures.
- Be able to treat information as confidential.
- Have skills when using electronic equipment, such as digital audio recording equipment, cameras, and camcorders.
- Have a driving license.
It is important to be a little fit and have good eyesight, although there are no specific health requirements when doing this work.
If you need to keep an eye on someone, ask Grainger Private Investigations to do the job.