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Tracking cat killers, and other jobs for private eyes

by Josef Kafka

The recent case of a Cornwall man spending £10,000 on hiring private investigators to find the killer of his daughter’s beloved cat because he thought police weren’t taking the matter seriously enough, may seem excessive, but people hire private investigators for all sorts of reasons. Many private investigators have specialist knowledge in areas such as law, finance, IT, and security. Some are former police officers, or ex-forces.  Using the latest techniques and equipment, they carry out a wide range of investigations.  Below, are five ways a private investigator can help you.

Matrimonial investigations

This is an area most people will recognise, where private investigators are used to find out whether a partner is being unfaithful on behalf of a client. Investigators also work for solicitors, representing their client’s interests. If you hire a private investigator yourself, try and be specific about the kind of proof you want. High quality photographic evidence can be pretty compelling, so too video evidence or voice recordings. Documentary evidence comes in the form of receipts, letters or cards, or invoices, while effective vehicle tracking – using GPS trackers –  can provide a clear picture about a vehicle’s location over the course of a day, week, or longer.

Tracing someone

If you need to trace a long lost relative or someone else and time is pressing because of an outstanding legal, property, or business matter, then hiring the services of an experienced investigator can be the quickest route to a successful outcome. Yes, you can try to do it yourself by using social media, local advertising, or recruiting the help of other family and friends, but experience counts for a lot in finding people, especially if some kind of rift caused the initial loss of contact. The other person may not want to hear from you. In this instance, going through a neutral party is often best and a skilled investigator can help to broker a reunion, if necessary.

Employee investigations

If you suspect an employee is defrauding the company, sharing valuable information with a competitor, or using company assets to help a private business venture, you need cast-iron proof of this before you can act. Carrying out any sort of surveillance or tracking their movements yourself, may seem like a good idea but you could end up compromising your own case. Worse than that, you could end up in trouble yourself because you’ve infringed their rights in some way. Investigators do this kind of work all the time and, working within the law, a well-briefed operative can gather the kind of evidence you need to make a case stick.

Tracking down debtors

Running a profitable business can be hard enough without having to chase debtors for the money they owe you. If you’ve tried the gentle requests for payment and issued final reminders without getting anywhere, using a skilled investigator to track down your debtors could be the way to go.  Formal contact by an investigator, or a personal visit, is often all it takes to persuade a debtor that it’s time they paid up. Using a private investigator can be the most cost-effective way of recovering money from your debtors, at least in the short term, or for one-off situations. 

Background checks

You may want to know more about the person you are considering hiring as a nanny, to look after a family member, or someone you’re thinking of doing business with in future.  If you’ve checked out their references and made all the enquiries you can and still aren’t convinced, then maybe you should simply heed your gut feeling. On the other hand, asking a private investigator to carry out a methodical background check, could give you the information you need to make a sound decision.

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