What Can a Private Investigator Do Legally in the UK?

In the United Kingdom, a multitude of laws and regulations, including the 2018 General Data Protection Regulation, the Investigatory Powers Act 2016 and the earlier Regulation in the Investigatory Powers Act 2000, safeguard personal security and privacy. These laws safeguard your protection and prohibit others from violating your human rights. A lot of conjecture surrounds the private security sector.

Trained professionals

So, how can you know you’re receiving the best of the best? Being a member of security organisations such as the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) – the UK’s independent body – ensures that private investigators function quietly and with the strictest confidentiality. This body protects individuals’ information rights and data privacy. 

Although private investigators are not required to have police or military experience, having this background gives customers extra peace of mind. You can trust that investigators with law enforcement experience will work hard to offer excellent results that are entirely legal. Unlike police officers, however, private investigators do not have the same legal authority over members of the public.

Investigative Methods

So, what kind of investigating techniques may private investigators use? The first and foremost guideline of any PI investigation is to keep everyone safe and avoid causing any harm. After then, PIs will employ whatever legal procedures are necessary to obtain the essential information. Here’s a list of resources private investigators can and can’t lawfully utilise in their cases:

Official Records

PIs have honed abilities in doing research and background checks on people. They have legal access to court records. Private investigators, on the other hand, are unable to lawfully collect private papers such as phone, bank, medical, or court-sealed data. They are also not permitted to open mail or get a credit report without the individual’s permission.

Computer & Phones

Likewise, private investigators are not permitted to hack or wiretap a computer, phone, or tablet. They only have access to these papers if the owner has permitted them.


Surveillance is the most prevalent inquiry type, which involves following persons on foot or tracking automobiles with a GPS device. Of course, private investigators are prohibited from trespassing on private property or violating stalking laws. When GPS tracking workers’ automobiles, it’s critical that those employees are made aware of the prospect of being tracked. Companies must inform the employees before their cars are being tracked.


Another fantastic approach to collect pertinent information is by word of mouth, whether from a coworker or a family. This can be used to assist in finding people in the UK that can be missing or keep track of someone’s activities.

What Can PI Investigate Legally?

The procedures used to conduct investigations differ from one firm to the next. However, whether it’s for a private individual or business interests, most organisations will utilise various tactics to get particular information. Here are a few examples of the types of things a PI can look into:

Missing People

Private investigators are permitted to use surveillance measures to hunt for missing individuals in the United Kingdom. This might be a missing loved one, a debtor who refuses to pay, or even a shady contractor who has left you in the lurch.

Matrimonial Surveillance

Do you think your husband is having an affair? Do you require proof that they are having an affair? PIs are permitted by law to track persons and report on their activities to a specific person.

Assets & Property

PIs can assist you in locating assets for a divorce hearing or a business liquidation. This service is helpful for individuals or corporations who require expert assistance in doing public records searches.

Corporate Investigations

Do you have an employee that is always pretending to be sick? Or are you concerned about theft at work? Private investigators in the United Kingdom can provide a variety of corporate investigative services. They can present legitimate proof to the employer by employing authorised monitoring procedures.

Insurance Fraud

Insurance fraud is on the rise, with Aviva detecting £90 million in fraudulent claims in 2017. This is where private investigators come in, assisting corporations and individuals in building a case. They do it by giving date and time-stamped reports and videos. A skilled PI can assist you in obtaining high-quality evidence in various situations, from phony workplace injuries to “crash for pay” instances.
Whether you want to hire a PI for people’s search in the UK or child custody investigation, Private Investigations UK must be your go-to place!

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