Magnifying GlassWhere does one start choosing a private investigator? Firstly, one needs to focus on the nature of the crime – does it involve corruption, theft, bribery, fraud, nepotism, embezzlement, extortion, conflict of interest, abuse of certified information, etc. Each of these various types of issues may require investigation processes of a specific nature. i.e. “different horses for different courses.” Whilst working through all of the influences that will help you decide on whom to appoint, one must keep in mind the desired outcome. It is important to know that certain investigators and investigation companies specialise in reaching the identified goals of an investigation, some are better equipped to do so than others. Another important factor is establishing time frames as a “one man operation” could take longer to complete a complex fraud matter than a team employed at a reputable company. Certain investigations require different approaches which will require the assistance of different specialists who are not necessarily readily available to smaller operators. Investigation is an Art When discussing options with a prospective investigator, make sure he is aware of contingencies if the investigation does not go according to plan. Investigation is an art that requires certain skills. Ensure that the investigator shows signs of possessing these skills and has a clear understanding of the application of the Criminal Procedure Act. This Act governs the procedure to be followed when dealing with a suspect / accused person from the time of suspicion to the time of conviction. Having identified the nature of the problem, one needs to research “who is who” in your specific geographic area. Often an investigator, who has operated in a particular area for any length of time, has access to a network of contacts who can assist in his investigations. Now for the difficult part. You should by now have a list (long or short) of potential service providers, with references. We would suggest that before appointing someone, you should make up a short list of candidates for briefing sessions with yourself, when you should explain the broad outline of the problem (without mentioning specific details) and ask the investigator how he would go about providing a solution. An investigator who cannot come up with a planned approach will find it difficult to solve your problem. If the investigator can produce a tangible modus operandi, ask for references for work on similar projects to yours. Your shortlist will be rapidly diminishing in length! Now ask for a) an hourly or daily rate and b) approximately how long does the candidate think the investigation should last. For more information, contact South Africa’s leading Private Detective Agency.