Choosing the right company for your investigation and Self-Regulation within the Private Investigations Industry
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Choosing the right company for you can make the difference of whether or not your evidence will be acceptable in a court of civil or criminal law, whether or not any evidence obtained was obtained legally, or simply whether or not the subject of the investigation will take seriously your allegations.
You pay for what you get, if the price quoted seems "cheap" then it probably is a reflection of the professionalism on the investigating company.
If you follow the guidelines below you will not go far wrong:
If a web site looks corny or basic (silhouettes of Sherlock Holmes) then the chances are the owner of that site isn't really taking seriously his profession which in turn means they may not take seriously your case
If a site offers services that are outside the law then the owner of that site has no problem with taking your money and obtaining evidence that could end both you and them in a court of law
Services outside the law (unless supported with a court order) include: Phone tapping, obtaining phone bills or the identity of persons personal private details unless there is strict legal precedence in place, obtaining home address details without legal justification, surveillance on an ex partner unless it is part of a legal process
Always insist on an MO - Method of Operation this should detail the outline of the investigation, the targets, the aim of the investigation and the means that will be adopted to obtain those aims. In the event that the investigation company then operates outside the law you will have evidence that you instructed that company with the MO in mind
Insist that the company holds professional insurances relevant to your investigation
Insist that the company holds ICO registration if they don't then they will hold your personal information illegally
Insist on details of other investigations that the company has dealt with in the past
Ask for details of professional qualifications and experience - anyone can set themselves up and call themselves a Private Detective
If the price you are quoted seems to good to be true, it probably will be
For surveillance operations, insist on date time stamped evidence of time of arrival and time of departure at the location with one hourly interval shots to demonstrate that the ten hours of surveillance you are being charged for is ten hours and not a half hour each side of the start and end time
Insist on signed surveillance logs for the whole period to back up date time stamped images or audio
Insist on a full break down of time spent on your investigation
Insist on a copy of the company's charges terms and conditions
Insist on a full meeting whether this is in person, over the phone or skype prior to instructing the company, the investigator should take lots of notes and should take time before preparing a quotation for the investigation
Most importantly the company or investigator your choose should be emphatic to your situation and be prepared to give advice that may not necessarily lead to you instructing them
Most companies insist on a part payment in advance usually up to ten hours, where possible pay via Bank Transfer so you have evidence that a payment has been made
Use your gut feeling
Lewis Legal and Self Regulation within the Investigations Industry
At Lewis Legal Miscarriage of Justice Investigations we follow a strict code of Self-Regulation and Due Diligence not just to ensure we stay within the law but to ensure our clients are protected within the law at all times.
It is also worth noting that evidence gathered outside the law would not be admissible in court and may lead to prosecution or even a case being “thrown out of court”.
Until such time that the government implement the much needed licensing and the moderation of the Private Investigations/Detective industry, we at Lewis Legal Miscarriage of Justice Investigations, have chosen to bring in force our very own strict policy of "Self-Regulation" with regard to all of our operations within the UK and abroad.
All companies within the Private Investigations sector should follow a strict Due Diligence procedure when vetting all potential clients and their requests for services and should have be able to demonstrate and explain their own Self-Regulation policy.
When asked to do so, all companies within the Private Investigations who have adopted a Self-Regulation Policy should be able to provide a new client with the following:
Details of their insurance provider
Details of their Information Commissioners Office registration number
Disclosure Barring Service (CRB) checks
A Method of Operation (MO) for all investigations to be carried out
Copy of Charges, Terms and Conditions on request
Your chosen Private Investigations company should take time to sit face to face where possible with the client and discuss the investigation in detail before accepting any investigation and at no initial charge
For more information regarding our Self-Regulation Policy at Lewis Legal Private Investigations please contact: