Working as a private investigator in Oxford
I’m often asked what it’s like to work as a private investigator in Oxford. Is it exciting? Is it always cheating husbands and wives? Or how much do you charge? To name just a few of the more frequent questions.
Oh don't forget the ever-popular; "so what are you investigating right now?"... I can answer that one straight away and it's an easy one - "Mind your own business!" lol. But seriously here at Cotswold Private Investigations we take our client's confidentiality very importantly and always place their best interests (which includes anonymity and confidentiality) at the forefront of everything we do.
But that said we can answer some broader non-specific questions and in this little blog, I will attempt to answer some of the more frequently asked questions. For the more outrageous and fanciful questions, I will ask my colleague, Brock Hunter, to take over. Brock is an international special private detective who specialised in lost gems, valuable stolen artworks and missing secret naval dispersant plans that like Brock himself don't actually exist! Which is why I won't be tackling such pressing questions as "when you investigate an international case do you always use a private jet?" A genuine question I was once asked - seriously!! Brock, over to you...
How much does a private investigator in Oxford cost?
Back in the real world people often want to know how much does it cost to hire a private investigator in Oxford? Well, the simple answer is not as much as you might think. Let's take the city of Oxford and wider Oxfordshire county as a typical example of the working environment. With its mixture of urban and rural settings, it's likely any investigation will have to deal with this mix of terrain. This will affect the nature and style any investigation will take including the number of agents involved, safe strategies for surveillance, is it likely to be on foot or in a vehicle etc.
Best private detective agency in Oxford
By way of example, why don't we look at a recent case handled by our team here at Cotswold Private Investigations? For obvious reasons names and exact places have been changed but the essence remains the same. Cotswold Private Investigations was contacted by a high wealth individual (after being recommended as the best private investigation agency in Oxfordshire - thank you very much) who suspected their cleaner had stolen some very valuable jewellery (sorry Brock this one's not for you) and because there was no solid evidence the police were unable to get involved even though the item that had gone missing was not insured.
Our client (let's call him Wainright although his real name was J… Oh no you don't, not that easily!!) Anyway, Wainright and his wife Montessori (again not her real name - no really!) had searched the house numerous times and could not find a particular diamond necklace valued at over £60k. As the necklace was worn most days by the client's wife it was rarely if ever put in the household safe, typically being left on the dressing table instead. The last person thought to have been in the room was the cleaner although the loss wasn't discovered until later on that evening by which time the Housekeeper had left for the day and so they couldn't actually be certain it was her. Of course, panic ensued and the first of 5 thorough house searches by our client commenced. No necklace was found and it was at that point that foul play was suspected. Fast forward 3/4 days and various contacts with police and they found themselves contacting us for help…
Unfortunately, Brock Hunter was away competing in the Red Bull X Games freestyle ski jumping and crocodile wrestling competition - over 45's division so it was left to Cotswold Private Investigations and our Oxford team of agents to take up the case. We immediately instigated a full and methodical house search of the property. This helps to set a baseline for any investigation and for this task we used several agents as well as handheld wand metal detectors. As I'm sure you can imagine allowing strangers into your house to go through each room from top to bottom is no easy ask so it's vitally important that we establish a bond of trust between us and the client and key to achieving this is integrity and professionalism. All Cotswold Private Investigators are ex-military so absolutely know the meaning and importance of these tenets of our profession. It's because of this pedigree, our experience and our networks that we consider Cotswold Private Investigations to be the best private investigation agency not only for Oxfordshire but also the wider Cotswold Area.
Once we'd established that the necklace was not in the property we started our investigation of the household staff including the cleaner. Through both online OSINT investigation and further agent person to person surveillance (of which I will not reveal too much detail here) suffice to say we: A) recovered the missing necklace and B) someone lost their job…(!)
Let's scroll back a bit where I said we'd look at a typical case. Clearly, this was not a typical case scenario but I decided to include it as it helps to give a range of costs involved when you are thinking you might need to hire a private investigator. Wainright and Montessori's case was by any measure a complex and multi-faceted investigation needing both on the ground and online forensic investigative work using multiple agents and skilled OSINT analysts but when considering the return on the investment still provided an excellent rate of return and provided outstanding value for money. For further perspective remember the necklace was not insured so they stood to lose over £60k.
I know this blog post isn't specifically aimed at discussing costs so I’m not going to reveal the exact amount but it was less than 10% of the original value so I'm sure you'd agree a tremendous value for money and a job very well done.
OK so that's one end of the spectrum now let's look at the other and a more normal case we might be asked to investigate. Mrs Jones, who lives in Summertown in Oxford thinks her husband is having an affair with a work colleague. He works out near Chipping Norton so travels up and down the Oxford A34/A44 most days. On Wednesdays, he usually works late or does he…?! A straightforward person to person surveillance tasking was put into operation involving a single agent. As this was going to be in a mixture of rural and urban environments we also asked Mrs Jones to place a simple GPS vehicle tracker (supplied by us) in her husband's car.
The use of trackers in vehicles is still a legal grey area awaiting further definitive judgements to help set the precedents but as a rule of thumb, it is considered legal to place a tracker in or on a vehicle if it is reasonable to assume you might have legal access to said vehicle. Which as his wife, Mrs Jones, clearly has.
OK back to the tasking... For urban environments, it's prudent to maintain closer spacing with your target vehicle so with all the distractions that come from driving in a busy built-up area our agent was easily able to follow Mr Jones. However, once he left the city and was on more open and rural roads they had to drop back which is where the tracker comes into play. It soon became apparent that rather than working late, our client's husband was stopping off at a local pub where he met up with a female in her 30's, had a drink and then retired to one of the rooms in the adjoining complex.
We can only assume at this point that perhaps an intense game of competitive Twister took place as when some 2 hours later they both emerged they looked worn out but happy. Twister is a really great game so I can understand how they felt. All that bending, stretching and, well, twisting can really wear you out.
The idea of a private detective snooping through windows or jumping out of wardrobes with a flash camera is thankfully not realistic and in the real world not legal (as the room constitutes private property - and let's be honest a good game of afternoon Twister between consenting adults is not in itself illegal) so it's usually enough to simply 'catch' the lie and identify the 3rd party. For this particular task, we videoed the husband and female together both having a drink (in a public setting) and then entering and leaving the motel room complex noting the times etc. All in all a fairly straightforward operation but one which would bring empowerment to the client and act as the catalyst in her moving forward.
So what did all this cost? Other agencies will cloud their fees or hide extra costs trying to obscure the likely final bill. At Cotswold Private Investigations we believe in representing our clients honestly, ethically and most of all professionally which also extends to the advice we give them and how we charge for our services. Our minimum fee in a case like this would be £425 which represents 5 hours of single-agent investigation field and admin/desk work which for a case like this is usually long enough to achieve the end result.
As it happened this particular case ran over a little longer. Twister must have gone to a 3rd set and as part of our duty of care to our clients, we simply don't just abandon you once the aim of the investigation has been achieved so in this case we helped in the confronting of the 'other' woman and were on hand for her moving out and getting on with the rest of her life day. So in total, this case came in at just over £500.
Let us help you today
I hope this blog and these 2 genuine examples of the work we do here, at Cotswold Private Investigations, helping people to find the truth and empower themselves in their futures and future decision making have helped you if you are in need of our services and aren't sure if you can afford us. We are here to help you so please don’t be shy, if you think you need our help just ask. And if you’re unsure about affordability - just think, can you afford not to?