Choosing a Private Investigator in London

Choosing a Private Investigator in London

Private investigation isn’t just something you see in old films about the 1940s, but a thriving industry that plays a key role in a number of industries, including digital forensics, security and corporate investigations. Whatever you need a private investigator for, it can be hard to know exactly what to look for when hiring one.

P.E.L Consultancy Services have put together this guide to private investigation, so read on to find out more about the field and how to choose a private investigator in London and across the UK.

What Is A Private Investigator?

A private investigator also referred to as a private detective, inquiry agent or private eye, is an individual that can be hired out by a person, a group or a company to undertake investigatory work. They commonly work for attorneys and clients in civil and criminal cases, finding evidence that can corroborate a story or case.

While many question the legality of private investigators, it is a perfectly valid field and in most countries, you need a licence to be a private investigator. Although the industry is currently still unregulated by the UK Government, many private investigators are members of worldwide trade organisations like the Association of British Investigators or The World Association of Professional Investigators. A private investigator must follow the laws and regulations of wherever they are, as any evidence they gain illegally will in most cases not be used.

They’ll find the facts involved in any case you assign them and give their impartial opinions to help you make informed decisions based on solid evidence. Issues that a private investigator can help with include surveillance, relationships, corporate, fraud and theft.

Private investigators can do things like following someone in public spaces, using open source records to search for people, performing background checks and examining social media accounts. They can’t do things like trespassing, hacking computers or emails, bugging phones or accessing private information. These are illegal activities that they can be prosecuted for.

What Is A Private Detective Agency?

Unlike how the media frequently portrays private investigators, they rarely work alone. Many private investigators are members of an agency or consultancy, which is a group of investigators who will all work together and pool resources to get cases done.

For example, your case involving asset tracking may suddenly involve the need for digital forensics. A great private detective agency, such as P.E.L Consultancy Services, will have experts in both of these fields who can collaborate with each other to get the best possible results for your case.

What To Look For In a Private or Forensic Investigator

As the industry is currently unregulated in the UK, you need to be careful who you put your trust in with your investigation. A non-reputable investigator might resort to illegal methods in order to gather information or provide a sub-par service not worth the money you are paying. Here are some of the things to look out for when looking for a private investigator in London and beyond.


You don’t want to hire a private investigator that’s a novice at what they do, as you’ll probably end up unsatisfied with the results they bring you. Realistically you want a private investigator with a few years of experience under their belt, who has all the skills and knowledge to apply to a case. Previous experience in police work or similar fields is always a bonus, as you know they have some degree of knowledge of the law and probably some qualifications to back this up.

If you’re not sure about their experience, it never hurts to ask. They can let you know the kinds of cases they’ve worked on in the past and what kind of successes they may have. You could even ask to see some previous work, such as past reports they have written or examples of their surveillance work.

Check to see if they have any reviews on their site or any related site. You should have a look at the positive reviews but also see what people who have rated them lower have said, so you can get the full picture of whether they are the right choice for you.


You should look into the resources that the private investigator has at their disposal. A single person working by themselves is clearly not going to have access to the same resources that an entire agency of investigators has.

It is preferable to work with a consultancy or agency as you’re not just gaining access to the skills of one investigator, but to all of them. This way you could have a few different investigators working on your case at the same time, all of them contributing their specific expertise and field of knowledge to get you the best possible results.

Make sure you check that they have insurance, as you don’t want to find yourself suddenly paying a large fee if your investigator injures themselves when working on a case.


If you’re in London, it only makes sense to hire a private investigator that is in London. The case you have for them will probably involve individuals or companies that are present in the same location as you, so the logical case is to work with someone local. This will mean you can meet them in person regularly if needed and they’ll be able to give all of their local knowledge to the case, which will be helpful if conducting surveillance.

You also might need your investigator at a moment’s notice, any time day or night. If they’re not local, they are not going to be much assistance to you if you can’t immediately utilise them. So always make sure the investigator or agency you’re using is local to you and the case.


Make sure you aren’t being overcharged with this quick guide to costings. The costs are influenced by several factors, including the type of service, time the service is needed and the resources that will be needed. Some will charge by the hour while some will offer a set free for an agreed-upon amount of hours.

While most investigators and consultancies will charge different fees, you should expect around these amounts for different services: surveillance can cost around £50-£80 per hour, while GPS tracking will cost you on average £500. If you want a background check run on someone, this may cost around £75 per hour, so the price will depend on how extensive the check will be.

You will also often be charged an initial consultation fee. Private investigators are usually upfront with their costs and won’t have hidden fees. All of the investigation, tools, equipment and resources needed should be covered in the price you are quoted. And if you’re not sure if they are, just ask. If you think your private investigator is too cheap for its own good, this is probably the case. You want the case to go smoothly and the evidence they gather to be great, so don’t just go with the cheapest option.


Most of the time private investigators are working on discreet cases, so you want to ensure your case is airtight and the information you provide to them is closely guarded. If they’re blabbing about past clients’ personal information during your initial consultation, this is a red flag.

See if they operate with 100% confidentiality and offer non-disclosure agreements. This way you can ensure all your personal information and details about the case are protected.


Finally, make sure you get along with them! There’s no point working with an investigator you find rude or annoying, and you’ll be less likely to want to give personal information to a person you’re not keen on. Building a positive relationship with your investigator will also make the case run more smoothly, as they’ll be encouraged to work harder to please you.

Hire A Private Detective London

If you’re looking for professional private investigators in London and around the UK, talk with P.E.L Consultancy Services today. We are a highly trained team of private investigators, able to offer a range of services to deliver the results you need. This can include surveillance, data protection, background checks and more.

We can even help with international investigations, working with commercial, corporate, legal and business clients to provide you with the evidence you need. All of our staff are experts in the industry, getting the job done while adhering to the strictest legal and ethical standards. This has given us an incredibly high success rate, with over 1000 successful operations to our name.

So whether you need to prove infidelity, sweep for bugs, do a credit check or arrange protection, we can help. Call today on 0203 432 0207 to talk through your requirements with one of our friendly and informative staff, or visit our website now to explore the full range of investigation services, digital forensics and security services we can offer.

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