Is It Legal to Hire a PI?
In order to conduct private investigations in Western Australia, the person must have a minimum of a Cert III in Investigation Services as education. Many former police officers are drawn into the private investigation line of work as it’s a natural progression and a way of utilising many years of training and skills.
At Cottman Investigation Services (CIS) all our agents are former police officers with decades of experience in surveillance, intelligence gathering and fact finding. We all have had much experience with all types of investigations.
So why hire a private investigator? What can they legally do?
A private investigator can legally follow somebody. We are licensed by WA Police and have the legal right to follow, track and conduct surveillance on a person, persons or place. If a person who is not a licensed investigator were to undertake these activities they could be charged with the offence of stalking.
We can conduct surveillance for a few hours or days, weeks and months depending on the individual case. For example in some infidelity cases we have observed the subject interacting with someone other than their partner in a matter of an hour. Other cases we need to collect evidence over a period of time for legal matters.
Private Investigators do not have access to Government records such as vehicle registrations, court convictions or other types of private information such as bank details or telephone records. This is due to the strict privacy laws within Australia protecting personal details. We can, however sometimes access the information required through OSINT. This involves researching different databases and public information which we can gather the necessary intelligence from.
Some Private Investigation agencies promote vehicle trackers and mobile phone spyware as part of there service. However this breaches the Surveillance Devices Act and if a device or spyware is located then the person who installed it can be charged with a criminal offence. If it is your own vehicle or your mobile phone there are exceptions, however if you are hoping to find out where your cheating partner is going or the communication the are having and you sign up for one of these packages then you could be facing some serious charges.
At CIS we work within the law to provide credible evidence and get our clients the answers they require.