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A Look At The Role Of Modern Investigation Services

Dec 16, 2007
Many see the world of the private detective through the eyes of the fictional characters we have come to know and love. Sherlock Holmes, Magnum P.I and Charlie's Angels can all be seen as examples of private investigators in popular culture. These examples do however glamorise the role that private investigation services play in the real world, it is not all solving murders and tracking drug dealers. A large part of the work a private detective undertakes in the modern world is surveillance, often working for insurance companies to chase bogus claims or gathering evidence of cheating spouses is the norm.

That is not to say that this being a private investigator is not exciting work. Despite the hours of surveillance, confrontation of suspects can often be part of the work making the job somewhat dangerous at times. This however is usually an exception as the private detectives primary role is to gather information and rarely involves the apprehension of suspects or enforcement of laws. There is however, a sense of accomplishment in the world of investigation services, knowing that you have your man (or woman) must be a very rewarding outcome.

A large section of the investigation services industry is dedicated to researching insurance fraudsters as those in the insurance sector see it as a worthwhile expense to trace claimants who may be defrauding their company. Another major constituent of the work that private detectives carry out is providing courts summons to criminal suspects who first have to be found by the courts. Subsequently the investigation services industry has a heavy workload; private detectives themselves work irregular hours and must spend their time in a vast array of locations. From sitting in a car outside a suspects house to drinking in seedy bars, the work of private investigators have a varied role to play in the machinery of the legal profession.

Since the rise in civil disputes and the increased cases of divorce private investigation services have found themselves investigating marital disputes in greater numbers than ever before. Although the legal necessity for finding such information is rarely present, private investigators have often found themselves investigating cases of adultery or other 'bad behaviour'. Proof of such infidelities can often sway a civil case and with the outcome often being the custody of a child or the size of an alimony settlement, investigation services have found this a lucrative market.

Although there are no legal requirements in the form of training to become a private detective many possess college degrees or have undertaken criminal investigation courses. Large components of the investigation services industry have come from other fields; including law enforcement, the military or government auditing departments. This is often the case as those in such occupations are usually available for retirement after 30 years service and the role of private detective makes a perfect second career for someone who has experience in the field of law enforcement or auditing. Seemingly attention to detail is a prerequisite of becoming a private investigator.

Today private detectives prefer the term professional investigator through an attempt to distance themselves from the seedy image portrayed in film and media. Taking into account the services that contemporary investigation agencies perform this is understandable. They are no longer the lone investigator answerable to nobody, today they perform a valuable service to world of business and people's private lives; gathering evidence to settle insurance claims and resolve marital disputes. Seemingly and maybe sadly the modern private detective, labelling himself as the professional investigator, is trying to shun the Dick Tracy image. The days of the private eye with a long coat and wide brimmed hat may well be over.
About the Author
Shaun Parker has been involved in specialist surveillance for several years now and is an expert on undercover surveillance and private detective work.
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