Private investigators, a private investigator or private detective, is an individual who can legally be employed by people, institutions or NGOs to undertake investigative services. Private investigators can also work independently for lawyers in criminal and civil matters. Private investigators provide information and support in counter-terrorism, intelligence, cyber crimes, corporate security and public records searches. They are usually called in to provide investigative support to corporations and organizations to resolve issues regarding privacy, confidentiality, intellectual property rights and data protection. Some private investigators specialize in particular areas such as background investigations, corporate safety and employee theft prevention and conduct surveillance, corporate frauds, financial crimes, theft and asset recovery.
There are many reasons why private investigators are needed. The most common reason is that to gather evidence to use in court. Criminal investigations require a lot of evidence that can be difficult to get unless the facts are documented and recorded by a reliable third-party. A court case could take months or even years to resolve unless the proper procedures are followed. Legal professionals rely on private investigators to get information they need to provide strong legal opinions and position their clients on the appropriate course of action.
Private investigators are also needed by police officers to collect evidence against suspected criminals. In most jurisdictions, private investigators are also granted authority to administer oaths and to give testimony under oath, even in criminal proceedings. The ability to administer oaths gives private investigators the ability to influence or coerce people. This also allows them to protect themselves from claims of police brutality or other abuses from the subjects of their investigations.
Most people hire private investigators because they need the assistance of an investigator to take photos of potential crime scenes. A private eye may take photos of bullet shells or bomb casings that might not have been visible with the naked eye. They may also detect drugs in the area and take photos of where they were found. A skilled investigator can blend in with the local community and make anonymous sources give information without raising suspicions.
Another use for private investigators is in the realm of child exploitation. They can be contracted to find out information about sexual abuse or the presence of drugs or alcohol in a home. This kind of activity often goes unreported. In some cases, it results in further trauma to a victim and may result in murder. Finding information about such activities is often done by hiring a private investigator hired to conduct an investigation.
Private investigators also work in the military, providing support to those in need of such services. Military members who need help investigating their past can turn to many private investigators hired to conduct background checks on their life history. The information provided by these background checks may help them make good decisions about joining the military, preserving their health and valor. Those who want to know if someone they know is cheating on them can do a thorough background check that includes looking at military records to find out if there are any red flags. After finding out the full story, military members can then decide if joining the military is right for them.
Private detectives and investigators are not limited to the realms of investigation and detection. Businesses can use them to track down errant employees, find out if certain employees are stealing from the company or investigating a competitor. With the advent of the internet, detectives and investigators can now conduct online investigations, track down old friends and classmates and more. Whether investigating a cheating spouse, tracking down a missing child or tracking down a business competitor, different types of investigators are needed for different jobs.
Although many employers hire private investigators to conduct surveillance and background checks on job applicants and current employees, some businesses use them instead as part of their internal investigations. Internal investigators are needed in this type of situation to investigate crimes within the company, such as fraud. Internal investigators must have knowledge of the legal ramifications of uncovering illegal activities and may be required to turn over evidence, witnesses and other information to law enforcement officials. Businesses may choose between hiring an investigator or a private detective to conduct an internal investigation.