What does a private investigator do? Not wear a dirty mac and fedora for a start.

Despite the popular images, and a lot of people’s beliefs that detective agencies spend their entire time catching cheating spouses, most professional, private sector investigators actually carry out a varied role.

Trace Enquiries

Missing persons, lost contacts or evasive debtors. There are many reasons people want to find other people. A private investigators extensive knowledge of public and private databases means these enquiries can often be carried out from the office, however, a good detective will also be able to apply footwork when all else fails.


A range of reasons exist for this, from the stereotypical “cheating spouse” to insurance fraud, moonlighting and even mystery shopping.

Counter Espionage

For many large multinationals, being the first to market with the latest product can mean big money, and they will go to any lengths to steal ideas and designs. If a certain company start getting beaten to market consistently by a particular rival, it may be suspected that said rival has an inside man at company ‘a’, in this situation a private detective can assist in identifying the leak.


A complicated area of work due to the laws surrounding repossession, but many detective agencies still generate a large part of their income through repossessing items on finance that haven’t been paid for. On many occasions private detectives attend house repossessions as agents for the lender to take possession of the property from the bailiffs.

Process Service

Another complicated area with varying laws depending on type and area of process to be served. A part of the job I particularly enjoy due to the good balance between being in and out of the office.

Statement Taking

From criminal defence to accident reporting. Many solicitors use private investigators to take statements from clients and witnesses. Particularly helpful if client/witness can’t get to solicitors office, or has to be met outside 9-5 hours.

Means Reporting

You’ve located your debtor and they still refuse to pay. Before commencing legal action a private detective can identify assets of the debtor ensuring it is worthwhile pursuing through the courts, and there is a possibility of recovering monies owed.

A slightly extensive blog, but it covers the basics. We will start to expand on individual parts over the coming weeks.

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