Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some answers to the regular questions we receive from prospective clients.


Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some answers to the regular questions we receive from prospective clients. If you have a question with regards to a specific service or problem, please take a look at our answers below. If you still have unanswered questions, please contact us and we will happily answer them.

Cost

Payment

Confidentiality

Legal

Services

Access

Results

Training

Miscellaneous

Will my partner will find out that I'm checking on them?

The whole point of hiring a private investigator as opposed to doing it yourself is to avoid your partner finding out. Most reputable private investigators will have had the correct training and experience to avoid this scenario.

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Will the person find out they are under surveillance?

The whole point of hiring a private investigator as opposed to doing it yourself is to avoid your partner finding out. Most reputable private investigators will have had the correct training and experience to avoid this scenario.

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Will the person I am tracing know that I am looking for them?

I don't offer tracing services.

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Will the person ever be made aware that they are being investigated?

Once an investigation has concluded and the evidential report is written and handed over to the client it's entirely up to the client to decide what happens next. In some cases, the client decides to do nothing and that is entirely their choice. Your investigator will support you in whatever you decide to do.

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Could the investigation ever be traced back to me?

There are circumstances where this is possible so should this eventuality be a problem you should make this clear to the investigator at the initial interview as this will influence how the investigation is planned and carried out.

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How is contact kept confidential?

There are several ways to maintain confidentiality between yourself as the client and your investigator and any reputable agency will explore these options with you.

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Do I need to give my full details?

Yes. At some point, any reputable agency will need to have your client details. This is where you might want to also have a conversation around confidentiality and client identity protection.

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How much does a private investigator cost?

Depending on each agency and how many resources your task requires but on average between £55 - £120 per hour per operative.

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How much is it to hire a private investigator?

Depending on each agency and how many resources your task requires but on average between £55 - £120 per hour per operative.

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How much does it cost for a private detective?

Depending on each agency and how many resources your task requires but on average between £55 - £120 per hour per operative.

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How much does it cost to hire a private investigator?

Depending on each agency and how many resources your task requires but on average between £55 - £120 per hour per operative.

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How much do private investigators charge?

Depending on each agency and how many resources your task requires but on average between £55 - £120 per hour per operative.

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How much to hire a private investigator for cheating?

Depending on each agency and how many resources your task requires but on average between £55 - £120 per hour per operative.

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Cost of a private detective for fraud cases in the UK?

Fraud cases and forensic accountancy services are very specialised. You should seek legal advice before engaging any private investigator. Your legal advisor will be able to advise on a fair price for what you require.

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Is it legal to hire a private investigator UK?

Yes, it is perfectly legal to hire a private investigator in the UK as long as what you are hiring them for is in itself compliant with UK law.

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Are private investigators regulated in the UK?

At this point, private investigators are not required to be licensed in the UK. Which is why you must choose a reputable agency who only use experienced professional investigators.

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Are there governing bodies for private investigators?

There is currently no governing body for private investigators the UK but there is a national association which at this time is optional membership only.

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Are private investigators illegal?

No, it is perfectly legal to hire a private investigator in the UK as long as what you are hiring them for is in itself compliant with UK law.

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Do private investigators have extra rights?

Private investigators do not have any special powers or separate rights under UK common law. Any reputable agency/investigator will advise you this and the tasking plan should not propose any action which may be deemed as illegal.

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Are private investigators licensed?

At this point, private investigators are not required to be licensed in the UK. Which is why you must choose a reputable agency who only use experienced professional investigators.

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Are private investigators legal?

Yes, it is perfectly legal to hire a private investigator in the UK as long as what you are hiring them for is in itself compliant with UK law.

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Are there private investigators in the UK?

Yes. Some agencies will offer regional coverage and some national coverage. Depending on your requirement will depend on which agency you may choose to engage. For example, in a matrimonial surveillance case, you may prioritise local knowledge and convenience of being able to call in and meet in person whereas a big commercial investigation may be better dealt with nationally.

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Who uses/hires private investigators?

Anyone can hire a private investigator. With typical services ranging from spousal surveillance to commercial vehicle and asset tracking, workplace disciplinary evidence gathering to tracing a missing relative. The range of services provided by the investigation industry is only matched by the variety of clients that come through the door.

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How can I pay for a private investigator?

A reputable agency will accept all forms of legal tender. How to pay and affordability should form part of any initial interview as may have an adverse impact on client confidentiality i.e. if paid from a joint bank account etc.

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What are your payment terms and methods?

Each agency will have separate payment rates and payment terms and this should be discussed at the earliest stage in any client meeting.

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How do your details appear on my credit card statement?

A reputable agency will have strategies in place to avoid anything that may compromise client safety or confidentiality for example what appears on a bank/credit card statement and this should be discussed at the initial client meeting and before any payment is taken.

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What do I get for my money?

As in life, you tend to get what you pay for. Choose your agency carefully and discuss all expectations/what can realistically be delivered before handing over any money.

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What guarantee is there?

Private Investigators deal with real-life problems and people. Once you also add into the mix the need to protect client confidentiality and maintaining UK law there is very little that can have a cast-iron guarantee attached to it. Your chosen investigator/agency should be able to advise you on what is realistically achievable when you first meet them.

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How is the information you obtain presented?

Again this varies between agencies but should be in the form of some kind of evidential (court ready if required) report. And any reputable agency will deliver its report to suit your requirement.

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What do private investigators do?

Private investigators help you, the client, to find out the truth and help solve whatever problem you may be facing. The range of problems they can tackle is endless with agencies specialising in particular sectors such as matrimonial, fraud, forensic accounting. For example here at Cotswold Private Investigations, we specialise in matrimonial/spousal investigations, commercial evidence gathering, asset and vehicle tracking and disciplinary evidence gathering.

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What do private detectives do?

Private detectives help you, the client, to find out the truth and help solve whatever problem you may be facing. The range of problems they can tackle is endless with agencies specialising in particular sectors such as matrimonial, fraud, forensic accounting. For example here at Cotswold Private Investigations, we specialise in matrimonial/spousal investigations, commercial evidence gathering, asset and vehicle tracking and disciplinary evidence gathering.

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What do private investigators investigate?

Anything and everything! Private investigators help you, the client, to find out the truth and help solve whatever problem you may be facing. The range of problems they can tackle is endless with agencies specialising in particular sectors such as matrimonial, fraud, forensic accounting. For example here at Cotswold Private Investigations, we specialise in matrimonial/spousal investigations, commercial evidence gathering, asset and vehicle tracking and disciplinary evidence gathering.

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What can a private investigator find out in the UK?

A reputable private investigation agency can find out pretty much anything - as long as the information is 'open source' and would not contravene UK law by either looking for it or, when found, by disclosing it. Any information covered by the Official Secrets Act would be a good example.

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Can I hire a private investigator to find someone?

Yes. A common service offered by most private investigators is people tracing.

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I need to trace someone what information will the investigator need?

If you need to trace someone the investigator you choose would need any current and previous addresses, names or aliases, date of birth, previous and current workplaces even perhaps (if known) social media passwords. What you choose to disclose is up to you but the more open you are and more information you supply the easier it will be to trace the person.

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How long does it take?

How long is a piece of string? This depends on the complexity of the case and the resources (and budget) thrown at it.

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How do you find people?

I don't know - that's why I don't offer this service.

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What information do you need?

Any reputable agency will only ask for the information needed to resolve the task. What you choose to tell your investigator is entirely up to you but the more open you are the greater the chance of them being able to help you. Depending on the nature of the task will depend on the type of information needed. Your investigator will try to paint a picture of the situation surrounding the problem you need help with. So for example in a spousal matrimonial case, they will want to know the surroundings and situation which in turn will help to target the best time to target for any surveillance plan. This also helps keep the costs down.

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How soon can you start?

Most agencies should be able to react and help quite quickly. Although the phrase act in haste, repent at leisure should be remembered. In some circumstances, a rapid response is required and is therefore appropriate but on the whole, a carefully considered (and client approved) tasking plan should be in place before any boots on the ground are implemented.

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What areas do you cover?

Geographically we cover the Cotswold Region and it's surrounding conurbations. So Bristol, Bath across to Reading and Oxford. Then going up the M40 motorway to areas such as Redditch, Coventry and Birmingham and finally the eastern edge of our coverage down the M5 motorway with Cheltenham and Gloucester etc.

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What hours do you work?

Private Investigators work the hours that are required in the task plan agreed with the client. There are no set hours and each investigator when out in the field should be prepared to remain flexible. Office hours, on the other hand, tend to be fairly standard Monday to Friday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.

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What do you need to become an international private investigator?

A private jet and a really cool name like Brock Hunter. The reality of life is that only in very very (have I said very?) unusual circumstances would a private investigator be required to personally travel overseas. It's unnecessary for the client's budget and in most cases, the task would be subcontracted out to a local agency - for many reasons not only costs; such as local knowledge, contacts, understanding of in-country laws and language.

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What is it like being a private investigator?

This job is not for everyone. If you like to help people, are good at problem-solving, and have an abundance of common sense then this could be the job for you. If on the other hand, you like to go home at 5 o'clock no matter what you're involved in then perhaps not.

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What qualifications do you need to be a private investigator?

There are no formal qualifications needed to become a private investigator. However, what is helpful is experience, gained either from a police or military background. At Cotswold Private Investigations, we draw our operatives from the ex-military and police background.

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What GCSE do you need to be a private investigator UK?

There are no formal qualifications needed to become a private investigator. However, what is helpful is experience, gained either from a police or military background. At Cotswold Private Investigations, we draw our operatives from the ex-military and police background.

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How do you become a private investigator?

There are no formal qualifications needed to become a private investigator or any recognised and approved train school you can attend. However, what is helpful is experience, gained either from a police or military background. At Cotswold Private Investigations, we draw our operatives from the ex-military and police background.

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What is a private investigator allowed to do?

A private investigator can go and do exactly the same as you can as a private UK citizen. No more, no less. The only difference is they may be better at the going and the doing.

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What do private investigators have access to?

A private investigator has exactly the same access to places or information as you do as a private UK citizen. No more, no less. The only difference is they may be better at the going and the doing and accessing. A good example would be Open Source information gathering is what it says - open-source and available to all but often this information, whilst freely available, is hidden among a vast sea of other not so relevant information - when was the last time you looked at page 100 of Google let alone past page 1?

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Can private investigators follow you?

Yes is the simple answer. A private investigator can follow you as long as they are not on private property without the owner's permission.

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Can a private investigator get text messages?

Despite some claims online from less reputable agencies a private investigator cannot hack into and therefore gain access to any information, texts, messages or otherwise within a modern-day smartphone. In a recent anti-terrorism investigation in the USA, the FBI had to seek a court order to force the manufacturer of a suspect's phone to 'open' the phone so they could access this type of information.

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Can a private investigator tap your phone?

Landlines can be accessed and recorded as long as the investigator has the account holders permission. If not then recording devices can be deployed in proximity to the landline to record one side of the conversation. Modern-day smartphones cannot be tapped or 'bugged'. They use a digital encryption logarithm making it virtually impossible unless you're GCHQ and you have ministerial permission. Seeing as that pretty much rules out all of us and on the whole, most of us use our smartphones as our first choice device you should assume hacking phone calls is a no and any reputable investigator should not be including this strategy as part of your tasking plan.

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Can private investigators hack into email accounts?

Hacking email accounts is a good question. We all assume our emails are secure even when sent from a secure (for example work) device. What most people don't realise is that email once sent then usually travels via a public 'open source' route onwards to its recipient and final destination. OPSINT is the specialised accessing of open-source information which includes the majority of all emails sent. Of course, it's far easier (and cheaper) if you have the username and password!

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Can private investigators hack into Facebook/Instagram/Twitter?

Hacking social media accounts is a good question. We all assume our online activity is secure even when accessed from a secure (for example work) or password-protected device. What most people don't realise, particularly with social media is that not everyone who has access to your profile (a friend for example) will have the same security settings as yourself leaving your profile open to unwanted attention. ANYTHING you post online to any of the social media platforms should be considered public. OPSINT is the specialised accessing of open-source information which includes the majority of all emails sent and social media accounts. Of course, it's far easier (and cheaper) if you have the username and password!

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Can private investigators get video footage?

Hacking social media accounts is a good question. We all assume our online activity is secure even when accessed from a secure (for example work) or password-protected device. What most people don't realise, particularly with social media is that not everyone who has access to your profile (a friend for example) will have the same security settings as yourself leaving your profile open to unwanted attention. ANYTHING you post online to any of the social media platforms should be considered public. OPSINT is the specialised accessing of open-source information which includes the majority of all emails sent and social media accounts. Of course, it's far easier (and cheaper) if you have the username and password!

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Can a UK private investigator get text messages?

Despite some claims online from less reputable agencies a private investigator cannot hack into and therefore gain access to any information, texts, messages or otherwise within a modern-day smartphone. In a recent anti-terrorism investigation in the USA, the FBI had to seek a court order to force the manufacturer of a suspect's phone to 'open' the phone so they could access this type of information. Modern-day smartphones use a digital encryption logarithm making it virtually impossible unless you're GCHQ and you have ministerial permission. Seeing as that pretty much rules out all of us and on the whole, most of us use our smartphones as our first choice device you should assume hacking phone calls or text messages is a no and any reputable investigator should not be including this strategy as part of your tasking plan.

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