As a member of the public you can be thrown into a Police cell, you can be sued, the Bank can refuse you a loan – there is no difference, better or worse for professional private investigators. With or without a licence: No Private Investigator has the right to work outside the law of the land.
The professional investigator must have an appreciation of the Law and must remain aware and sensitive to all possible transgressions – if you keep clear minded and remain fair and keep on the right side of the law you will progress without problems.
Make sure that in all encounters with the public or the Police or anybody else that you have your proof of identity with you. Maybe your identification card from your trade association (Association of British Investigators, Institute of Private Investigators, World Association of Detectives, etc.) or your business card. When licences are introduced you can produce your Home Office Private Investigators badge. Don’t worry, you won’t have to “Display”, your badge when working like most of those working in the SIA/ Home Office controlled sector, just have it handy if you need to produce it…
The: “Impact Assessment of Regulations”, in respect of Private Investigators and Precognition Agent (Scotland) advise that:
“Currently, the intention is that private investigators and precognition agents would not need to wear their licence where they could demonstrate that the nature of their conduct on particular occasions required them not to be immediately identifiable as someone engaging in private investigation or precognition activity. however, in other circumstances, private investigators and precognition agents would need to carry the licence on their person and be able to produce it on request”.
I suppose that is self explanatory.
The Police do not have an, “Axe to grind”, and can be the best ally that you have in conducting your enquiries. Always be polite, business like and courteous. If the Police ask you what you are doing on a residential street after dark (Because somebody has reported your presence) – no worries, show your identification and explain that you are conducting a surveillance. Explain that as the area is not particularly sensitive and you found yourself there as part of an unfolding assignment. You were unable to report your vehicle details to the Police, on this occasion, in advance.
If matters are kept at the basic level then maybe have a bit of fun by asking who reported you? Of course the Police will not tell you who made the call, but, if they admit it is one of the local houses, then ask if it is an, “Odd number”, if this confirmed and you are watching a subject in an “Even” numbered house then no offence (Other than traffic offences if you on double yellow Lines) is being committed.
Surveillance may be deemed harassment if the subject knows that they are being watched – if the house you are watching is likely to have called in – break off the surveillance!