What makes a good private investigator?

Hiring a private detective to help ease any worries or insecurities you have shouldn’t be taken lightly. If the problem affects your love life, family, or even your business, you want the right person to do the job.

But what makes an excellent private detective?

Here are some qualities you can expect from an excellent Private Investigator:

The Ability to ‘Read’ People:

Any private investigator should be able to tell when someone is lying to them or hiding parts of the truth. Understanding people’s reactions and ticks that show dishonesty will save the investigator hours of legwork trying to verify things that aren’t true. It also means the private investigator can get to an answer far more quickly, finding out what really happened and producing fast results.

Accurate and In-Depth:

When you approach a private investigator, they should be able to give you the answers you need (in-depth ones). If they can’t (for legal or security reasons), this will be identified early on. Every bit of information should be handed to you, from the times of meetings to the locations and the parties involved.

A Great Memory:

During many investigations, clues will only come to light when they are placed in the context of the whole situation. This means private investigators must be able to remember lots of facts and figures to combine them with the information they get at a later date. Good note-keeping is essential here, too, but the best private investigators will have the information in their heads.

Fantastic Research Skills:

A private investigator needs to have excellent research skills. Your investigator will be able to work their way through telephone calls, interviews, social media, and online documents, drawing out the essential information. Great detectives know what to look for and where to find the information they need. This research will be collated into a final report, which will give you the answers you need.

Knowledgeable and Have a Good Understanding Of The Law:

There are laws to follow when it comes to carrying out surveillance on a person. Some information can’t be accessed about a person, especially if they are a vulnerable adult or child (who could be put at risk without consent by legal guardians). A private investigator should have deep understanding of the law and will follow the legal practice. Some of the lawful things include following a person in public. Understanding their schedule and who their connections are without looking at the sensitive stuff (keeping to GDPR) is acceptable, too. However, accessing the information on their devices isn’t allowed. Even though movies show private detectives going into a property to install cameras and hidden microphones, these are illegal, and there are severe consequences for those who do it.

Quick and Creative Approach:

A private investigator should be creative and resilient when it comes to completing the task at hand. You will be made aware of the prices before any activity is carried out, for example, background checks. If a person isn’t able to be investigated in a certain way, like a lack of a social media page, a quick-thinking private investigator will consider other methods which are as effective. Their expertise will mean that the information is collected accurately and inaccuracies are rarely made.

Non-Judgemental and Trustworthy

Private investigators are still human and aren’t always able to give you direct answers. Even if you are sure the evidence points to a specific thing, evidence can only reveal so much about a person but can’t show what’s on a person’s mind. The person who will carry the work out will be honest and trustworthy to keep the information between you both.

Here are six personality traits of every Good Private Investigator

We believe that it takes all sorts of things to make a world, and high-quality private investigators are no exception. Good PIs come in all shapes and sizes, but there are a few personality traits that it certainly helps to have. We’ve put together a list of 6 of the qualities we admire in some of the great private detectives we know and some tips for identifying them.

1. Friendly Investigators Are Good Investigators

Particularly when dealing with private clients, a PI must be approachable. Deciding to hire a private investigator is often very difficult and personal, and it’s not usually a sign that things are going well in the client’s life. By keeping things friendly and professional, a PI can establish a positive working relationship with the client. A good relationship ensures that they feel as comfortable as possible throughout the process and have the peace of mind that they deserve.

  • Tip: A good PI will offer a free consultation to their prospective clients. You should absolutely make use of this and ensure that you like your investigator. You’ll find it easier to communicate with them if you do.

2. Responsible Detectives Are Key

To us, ‘responsibility’ means gathering information without ill effects or negative consequences. This means investigations that don’t disturb or endanger anyone. The best private investigators have a sense of morality, duty, and respect for the law. They’ll work hard to make sure that their investigations are ethical, safe, and legal.

  • Tip: Make sure your PI has a clear code of conduct and a data protection policy.

3. Discreet Investigators Avoid Detection

A good private detective agency will work to the highest standards of discretion. ‘Discretion’ means being careful and switched on, ensuring that your investigation remains confidential. It means conducting operations and arranging contact that won’t arouse any suspicion whatsoever.
In a covert surveillance operation, for example, discretion is paramount. A good investigator will be careful that the subject doesn’t realise they’re being watched or followed and won’t notice you. If the subject realises they’re under surveillance, the surveillance is no longer covert.

  • Tip: Ask your PI what they do when their cover is blown. They should have a strategy, whether it’s happened or not. It’s never happened to us, but we still have a plan, just in case it does.

4. A Professional Head Keeps Things Neutral

Professional private investigators don’t always behave with professionalism. Clients won’t feel respected if their case isn’t handled with the necessary gravitas. While PIs must be pleasant and approachable, for the same reasons, it’s equally essential that private investigation services are delivered with professionalism.
In investigations for private clients and corporate investigations, private investigators must keep things strictly professional. Emotional involvement, flippant comments, and otherwise unprofessional conduct are not conducive to a positive client experience.

  • Tip: Make sure your PI has good reviews on sites like Google and Yelp.

5. Natural Researchers Find The Truth

When it comes to any investigation, a PI needs to be naturally adept at gathering information. Whether it’s a background check or a vehicle tracking analysis, a PI must have a natural sense of which leads are fertile and which leads will go nowhere. Research skills save a lot of time and vastly improve the success rates for any PI.

  • Tip: Ask your PI how they conduct their research. If they give you a clear answer with a structured plan, they’re probably a safe bet.

6. Tech-Savviness Is Important

Private investigation in the modern world uses more tech than ever. If a PI offers vehicle tracking services, high-tech surveillance services, or lie detector tests, they’d better know what they’re doing. It’s no good paying through the nose for an inspector gadget who has no idea how to use any of their tools.

  • Tip: Do a bit of research into the tech being offered by your PI and ask a very straightforward question about it. A confident PI will give you a straightforward answer without trying to blind you with jargon.

This list isn’t exhaustive, and there are plenty more personality traits that make a good investigator. If you think we’ve missed anything, then let us know on Instagram @private_detectives.

You may have noticed that many of our tips involve asking your investigator plenty of questions—what better time to do this than in your free 30-minute consultation? Private Investigations UK gives free, friendly advice to everyone. To get yours, give us a call on 0800 002 0898. Alternatively, please fill out a contact form, and one of our agents will get back to you today.

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