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Myths of the private investigator

by Josef Kafka

Myths of the private investigator

Many people have a preconception of what a private investigator does. These ideas usually are based on portrayals of private investigators in the media with television, movies and books portraying a man in a trench coat rooting through the bins at night, lurking in the shadows to stalk potential wrong doers, and generally skirting close to the boundaries of what is acceptable behaviour. As is the case with many media portrayals of professionals, this caricature is completely inaccurate.

Here are some of the top myths surrounding private detectives and investigators:

1. Vigilante investigations

Many media outlets portray a private investigator as a renegade on the outskirts of society. This could not be further from the truth. A private investigator is more akin to a civilian policeman, without the powers of arrest, that has a multitude of experience and is trained, accredited and knows the law. 

2. Glamorous cases

Many private detectives are seen investigating a narrow spectrum of rather glamorous cases, be it a missing celebrity or a high brow diamond theft. But in reality, private investigators work on a variety of serious matters such as risk management or supporting clients through a stressful fraud litigation process. Other times they are working on data protection or witness statements. The list is endless and never as glamorous as the media like to make it look.

3. Illegal methods

There is a plethora of things that a professional private investigator will not do. Gaining access to a person's medical records or their bank details without their consent is illegal. Any evidence gathered through these means is inadmissible in court, which wastes a client's money and time and ruins an investigator's reputation.

Unfortunately, the Leveson Enquiry highlighted that there are unscrupulous people who do not have such a regard for the law. Thankfully, these individuals are in the minority.

As you can see, the fictional characters portrayed in the media are a far cry from the reality of what a private investigator does and the methods they use.

Please give us a call if you would like to find out how we can help you on 08712 340 007.

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