When considering obvious clients for private investigators, the local council may not immediately spring to mind. However, whatever our politicians may promise for the future, austerity still rules, at least for the time being. Many cash strapped local authorities have found outsourcing to be a cost-effective solution. A council’s enforcement rôles are examples of where private detectives can help.

Enforcement requires evidence and gathering evidence is what private enquiry agents are especially good at. Local councils license various business activities and most licences carry conditions. Often, breaches of those conditions can only be observed outside of the council’s normal office hours and providing out of hours supervision using the council’s own officers can be costly. Furthermore, by the very nature of things those officers soon become known to the licensees.

That’s where private detectives can help the authority to fulfil its obligations to ensure that licence conditions are being met and to take appropriate action where they are not. One example is fly-tipping as discussed previously, but let’s not forget that, whilst most properly licensed commercial waste disposal contractors will conscientiously operate within the terms of their licence, there will always be some working on the fringes of legality. The charges for disposing of commercial waste at proper designated sites are quite significant so the temptation to avoid them can be equally significant!

Here again, this sort of activity is most likely to take place outside of the council’s normal business hours. Private investigators are well placed to help in this situation.

Some licences permit the holder to trade only within certain hours of the day or night. Others may govern the sale or supply of age related products such as alcohol or tobacco so the issuing council has a responsibility to ensure that the terms of the licence are being complied with and not just between 9.00am and 5.00pm.

It is not only with regard to licences that the council has responsibilities that transcend normal office hours. Smoky bonfires, noisy parties and persistent noise all form the subjects of complaints to the council. They all have to be investigated and evidence gathered, usually at inconvenient times of the day or night.

These are some examples of where the skills of a private detective engaged as and when required, can provide the local council with a cost-effective means of fulfilling its responsibilities in certain areas without overstretching its own resources.

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