What is a Private Investigator?
A Private Investigator (PI) searches for clues to gather evidence for court cases or private clients. They interview people, verify information, conduct surveillance, find missing persons, and gather vital facts for cases.
What you should know before you hire a private investigator?
Hiring a Private Investigation Agency can be tough. Of course, you’d want to work with an agency that is experienced and can solve the case for you in the most cost-effective method, without compromising your identity.
With the strict laws set in place for this industry in Singapore, many PI agencies have resorted to creative ways to accomplish their tasks given by clients. But what exactly are the services a PI can provide, and what is considered illegal?
Types of Work Private Investigators Perform
Private investigators execute a wide variety of work, including (but not limited to):
- Matrimonial Investigations
- Conducting Surveillance;
- Background Checks – (in particular, key personnel);
- Finding Missing Persons or Property;
- Family member gambling-related movements;
- Trademark or copyright infringement corporate matters; as well as
- General investigation to obtain evidence to be used in civil or criminal matters.
Type of Illegal Work Private Investigators Cannot Perform
Private investigators are legally required to undergo training and hold licenses issued by the Singapore Police. As a result, a PI will be able to advise the client as to the legality of the methods used in the investigation.
The legality of hidden spy cameras depends on their usage. As of 2019, there are no specific privacy laws in Singapore. A spycam is generally used by PIs to film an investigation target or location, but to stay within the boundaries of the law, such cameras are usually only trained at public places or places owned by the client (e.g. the main door of a client’s house, or the living room, for instance, to track a spouse or maid’s activities).
However, if the use of the spycam involves housebreaking, insulting a woman’s modesty, or the recording and storing of obscene material, said usage may constitute criminal offenses. In a divorce matter, the PI or the client runs the risk of being prosecuted or countersued if illegal methods of recording and spying are used. (For more information on how to gather evidence to support a divorce application, see the section below).
Additionally, other activities, such as hacking into the private digital accounts of individuals (e.g. Facebook accounts) may run afoul of Singapore’s laws, such as the Computer Misuse Act.
How To Engage The Right PI Agency?
Now that you understand the role of a PI, here are some tips for you to look out for when hiring a Private Investigator.
Do your work and research
There are many agencies available for you to choose which is why it becomes confusing. But reading reviews and testimonials about their previous works can help narrow down the most suitable ones. You will then have a better idea of their specialization, methodology, and reliability.
Ask for a referral
Aside from conducting your own research, asking for referrals from your family members or friends is another form of a proven strategy. If you know someone who has engaged their services before, chances are they will give you their honest opinion.
PI Agencies in Singapore require a license to operate. This license is different from that of a Private Investigator who is only licensed to conduct investigations for agencies on behalf of their clients. This means that no one PI can work “freelance” or solicit their own business and is considered an illegal practice in Singapore.
In-depth knowledge and experience are a must when looking to hire a PI agency. When you hire a private investigator, ask for details about his previous cases that are related to your case. This gives you a chance to see if they can handle a case similar to yours and if they have what it takes to get the job done.
PIs have access to some very sensitive and personal information of their clients, and often their family members too. As such, you need to make sure that your PI is absolutely discreet and respectful when it comes to the information shared between the two of you.
This is a list of things that you will have to look out for when hiring a PI agency in Singapore. However, we’d always recommend getting a second opinion before choosing the right agency to solve your case. You should always go for the PI agency that you’re most comfortable with, and trust that they will accomplish the task given.
Who Should Hire A Private Investigator?
A Private Investigator (PI) is often useful for a number of reasons, but when a case or claim is necessary for a court of law, these professionals are invaluable at finding information and revealing the whereabouts of needed witnesses. It is important to contact a private investigator when anything that requires extensive research or surveillance is involved.
Various reasons to hire a legal private investigator may also be personal such as the need to find a lost loved one, to discover a relative that has been adopted, to reveal if a spouse is either cheating or performing illegal activities that could affect the other spouse, and many similar reasons.
The need for knowledge about certain subjects often demands someone that is experienced in how to attain the information necessary. The skills of a private investigator are usually far superior to those of even educated persons.
Because personal or business investigations may lead to potential negative consequences when not performed correctly, it is often recommended to hire someone professional that has the expertise in revealing various elements of the investigation and what is needed for the situation.
If surveillance of an area is required, these individuals have many hours of training to provide these services. Their time may even be less expensive than a personal examination or video capture of an event.
Why Hire a Private Investigator?
Licensed private investigators have the capability to complete assignments issued by a client, perform surveillance for extended periods and detect and reveal information that may be hidden or unavailable through a usual search.
The act of capturing video of a subject may also cause the person or organization to discover they are being recorded. This may then lead to either complication in surveillance or legal action to cease the activity.
If the person was perpetrating illegal actions, he or she may then stop doing so until certain that the video is not recording these acts. Many private investigators are trained enough in recording a subject so that he or she is unaware of it.
When investigations initiate for relatives or friends, it is important to ensure the parties are within legal compliance so that violations of the law governing licensed private investigators in these situations. If these offenses affect the individual, there are extensive fines that usually cause a significant financial burden along with some jail time in certain instances.
It is vital that the professional hired has to experience. These private investigators provide the greatest amount of safety to clients when taking on a case. This means they are able to handle themselves, are dedicated to the client, and attempt to remain hidden at all times.
Is It Worth It To Hire A Private Investigator?
The training a hired professional has completed usually provides him or her with the skill and talent to use the services acquired for a variety of fields. When the individual must investigate the medical, financial, relationship, and even legal areas, they often have the knowledge and skills to ensure the correct information has been obtained.
The quality of service far outweighs the costs when a professional is needed to investigate a subject for someone. This means to hire a quality private investigator, the client usually pays more for services. A greater amount of experience usually means that the PI commits to providing results to his or her client.
Do I Really Need A Professional Private Investigator?
It is vital that a private investigator be hired for experience and the quality of his or her skills. This translates to testifying in court with abundance so that he or she is equipped to deal with these situations better than someone that charges less for his or her services. He or she will appear professional, have a clean and groomed appearance, and be clear and concise when detailing the information he or she provides.
Singapore Police Force Licensed Private Investigators and tested to ensure they have a valid certification. When the individual is of a higher caliber than another with less experience or knowledge, he or she is better at informing the client of information, complications, and issues that may arise.
This also means that the PI is able to inform the person that hired him or her about any legal issues that may be entangled with the investigation such as violations due to surveillance laws, invasion of privacy, illegal recordings, and similar concerns.
It is best to hire a private investigator when a search or research is necessary and video recording someone or an entity is better left with the professional that has performed the action for hundreds if not thousands of hours.
How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Private Investigator?
In order to understand how the Singapore Private Investigation industry charges we have to understand these basics. In Singapore, most private investigation agencies that are advertised need to have a private investigation agency license issued by Singapore Police Force.
If you searched for “private investigators” on Google there are some foreign private investigation agencies that claim they are licensed to conduct investigations in Singapore and operate with an overseas address and phone number. Those foreign private investigations might not have the license to operate in Singapore. To be on the safe side ask for the private investigation license number issued by The Singapore Police Force.
Next, there are licensed private investigation agencies that charge by package. Be sure to understand more as some might charge for written reports and end of the day you will find that it cost more. A private investigator is unlike a spa, beauty, or foot reflexology business in which you buy a packet and you will know how much you spend after each visit.
To conduct a private investigation you need skill and advanced equipment to gather the evidence you need. For example, if a private investigator conducts surveillance on your target and does a lousy job you might lose the chance to gather the evidence you need. Worst still you might end up paying for the package and will not be able to gather further evidence.
Generally, Singapore private investigators charge between $100 to $200 an hour for conducting surveillance. To conduct a basic investigation starts from $600 onward.
Before you engage a private investigator spend some time reading through their website and accessing them by giving them a call. If possible, arrange a meeting with them personally in their office.
Here are examples of packages private investigator charges to attract potential clients:
– 20 hours package $2200 to $3000 for surveillance.
*After you have committed most of the time you need to top up and by the end of the Investigation you will end up paying more. Some even charge additional for the report. To a potential client, the most important thing is to get the evidence they need.
Be careful as some private investigators will just deploy 1 part-time or 2 private investigators by paying them $7 to $14 an hour. These part-time investigators are mostly new in the industry and if they fail or begin to discover while conducting the surveillance it will be even more difficult to get the evidence again.
How To Hire An Experienced Private Investigator?
Hiring an experienced private investigator to conduct investigations is important, especially in surveillance. Those trained surveillance operatives are invaluable when conducting surveillance to gather evidence and reveal the truth to clients.
There are some private investigation agencies that rely on “floating” or freelance private investigators to conduct surveillance. Private investigators specializing in surveillance skill is usually far superior to those freelancer private investigators.
A skilled surveillance operative requires years of surveillance experience and training. If surveillance is not conducted correctly, it can jeopardize the whole case. Surveillance techniques used by private investigators range from physical observation to audio monitoring of conversations. The audio surveillance technique is a more sophisticated type of surveillance, used by most private investigators.
The fees of a skilled surveillance operative are only slightly above the market rate. Private Investigator Steven Tan with 20 years of surveillance experience in conducting local and oversea surveillance. Steven Tan has trained more than 60 private investigators in the art of surveillance.
Private investigator Steven Tan explains that surveillance operatives must be able to follow the subject and have the ability to capture video evidence of the subject and work within legal compliance. They are also trained to handle complicated matters that may arise while conducting surveillance. Private Investigator Steven Tan says this quality of the surveillance operative’s skills far outweighs the cost. Private Investigator Steven Tan gives an example of when a female surveillance operative conducting the surveillance operation must be able to disguise herself as a pregnant woman in 10 seconds.
All surveillance operatives must be trained in handling the evidence-gathering equipment and must be able to capture critical evidence even if the subject is next to him/her.
For more information on hiring a private investigator, click here.
If you’re looking for an experienced PI to help solve your case or if you need some advice on an ongoing case, you may contact Asia Top Investigation at email@example.com or WhatsApp us at +65 8820 0007.
If you’d like to learn more on private investigation-related knowledge, feel free to check out our other articles here. For more questions about Private Investigations, you can read this Private Investigator FAQ here.
ASIA TOP INVESTIGATION LLP
License, No. L/PS/000016/2020
Telephone No. +65 8820 0007 via Phone or WhatsApp call
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Asia Top Investigation LLP believes in solving your case with the most efficient and cost-effective method. Using Artificial Intelligence( AI ) Technology, and reducing unnecessary investigations to reduce the cost of investigations without compromising the quality of the case.
Suggested keywords: Asia Top Investigation, Singapore Top Investigator, Singapore Top Private Investigator, Top Private Investigator, Singapore Best Investigator, Private Investigator, Private Investigator Singapore, Private Investigation Agency, Private Investigation Agency Singapore, Private Detective, Private Eye.