What to Avoid When Conducting Surveillance Investigations
There are certain essential skills that all surveillance investigators must possess in order to effectively do their assigned jobs. When it come to the top ten skills needed to become a successful surveillance investigator, typically discovered that most resumes listed as key skills required to succeed with this position were communication skills, good judgment and meticulous observation skills. When working in a surveillance capacity, your main concern will likely be to gather evidence in any case that is deemed appropriate for that particular investigation. To accomplish this, you’ll need to know your target and the potential evidence that might be collected from them. Below are a few key skills needed to successfully execute these duties.
Communication – As a professional surveillance investigator, your primary methods of communication will likely involve telephone communications as well as any written correspondence. Being a trustworthy communicator is crucial to success. You must effectively listen to any suspect’s words as well as relay them in a trustworthy manner to your field agents. In the modern surveillance arena, you are generally considered to be trusted to handle sensitive information, if you fail to do so, you could find yourself out of a job. Your work may also be personally perilous should you fail to keep your word.
Observation Skills – As part of the investigation process, you will need to carefully observe any situation and gather evidence that is applicable to your inquiry. Surveillance investigators are often required to interview both parties involved in a case as well as any witnesses. Without observing the subject, you are not able to accurately assess their physical condition or their thoughts. Without good observation skills, it is very easy to “make a mistake” and incorrectly apprehend a suspect. Surveillance investigators are usually required to follow a predefined pattern of behavior in their daily investigations, and if they make a single misstep, it may mean the end of an investigation altogether.
Self-Supervision – If you’re a private investigator you also need to exercise self-supervision, this means you are responsible to oversee your investigation activity. You are ultimately responsible for the outcome of your findings. If you let your case go unchecked, you may find that you are personally liable for whatever reports of misconduct come to light. Private investigators who fail to supervise their investigation processes are usually at a greater risk of committing an error in judgment, which could place their clients in danger.
Diversion Tactics – Another risky maneuver for surveillance investigators is “diverting” information from their intended targets. They may use their influence to get information that is not helpful to their case. This can range from outing a target’s wrongdoings to gathering evidence against a target of a confidential nature.
Tactics That Can Harm – There are many unethical techniques that private investigators engage in on a daily basis. Most involve deception, invasion of privacy, or breaking the law. Some unethical tactics include planting bugs in private residences and cars, falsely planting drugs in someone’s vehicle, planting cameras on people’s phones, and so forth. These tactics are not only morally wrong, they can also be extremely dangerous to other private investigators. In some extreme cases they can even put the lives of surveillance investigators and their clients in jeopardy.
The Dangers Associated with Surveillance Investigations – If you work in the investigation field, it is important to educate yourself on what to do and what not to do. If you don’t take the time to do this research yourself, you may put yourself in danger as a surveillance investigator and your clients might be in danger as well. As a surveillance private investigator your livelihood rests on being an accurate, objective observer of a subject’s behavior. If you take the time to learn about the techniques used by others, you may miss clues that will ultimately lead to false investigative findings. If you use a particular tactic, but it doesn’t work, you should report this tactic as incongruent, even if it didn’t lead to a case file outcome.
Some specific examples of things to avoid when conducting surveillance investigations include: pointing cellular phones at subjects (including finding pictures), following subjects across town or state, following subjects at night, running past subjects while driving, interviewing subjects at their workplace, pointing guns, pepper spraying individuals without appropriate protective gear, and so forth. In addition to avoiding these things you should also: inform your clients of the dangers inherent in doing these investigations. You should tell them that surveillance investigations are dangerous and that they should only hire experienced surveillance investigators. It is also important to instruct your clients as to what to expect if they do choose to hire an individual who has had a previous police arrest or charge, or if they have access to information that could put the life of a surveillance investigator in danger.