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Here at SPI, we often receive various questions regarding what we do or what we are able to do when conducting private investigations. So, we have put a list of commonly asked questions and answers for you to quickly find the answers you are looking for.

  • Which areas of the UK do SPI's private investigation services cover ?
    The registered office for Sentry Private Investigators Ltd is situated in Birmingham, but we operate across the whole of the West Midlands, East Midlands and East of England.
  • Are private investigations confidential?
    Yes, private investigations conducted by SPI are entirely confidential. We are legally and ethically bound to keep your data and the results of the investigation confidential. This means we cannot disclose any information gathered during the course of the investigation without your permission.
  • Are private investigations legal?
    Yes, private investigations are legal, but with legal parameters that we must abide by. SPI complete data protection impact assessments prior to any and all investigations to ensure legitimacy of the inquiry. We also demonstrate compliance with all UK privacy laws and data protection laws.
  • What information do I need to provide with my enquiry?
    When taking on the services with SPI, it's important to provide us with as much information as possible about the situation you want us to investigate. This will help us understand the scope of the investigation and determine the best course of action. The information requested will be related the the background of the situation, case specific details, dates and times, contact information and budgets.
  • Why should I choose SPI over other private investigators?
    Sentry Private Investigators make no bones about the fact that we are a highly professional private detective agency. The network we operate with are all from former military, police and government agency backgrounds that shed a wealth of industry expertise, knowledge and experience. SPI hold full membership with the Association of British Investigators (ABI) meaning we are vetted from the offset to ensure our practices are legally compliant and conducted to the exceptional standards they expect from their affiliated members.
  • How much does it cost to hire a private investigator in the UK?
    The cost of a private investigator in the UK depends on which service is required. SPI offer certain investigative services at fixed rates (people tracing, GPS tracker deployments etc), and covert surveillance services at rates which can vary due to task requirements. To see our full price list, please visit our Pricing page.
  • Do private investigators in the UK need to be licensed to operate?
    At present, private investigators in the UK do not require licensing to operate as many other country's around the world do. The minimum requirement for private investigators to legally operate in the UK is to be registered as Data Controllers with the Informations Commissioners Office (ICO) as we handle peoples personal data on a daily basis. SPI are registered Data Controllers with ICO.
  • How do I know who to trust when dealing with private investigators in the UK?
    As the UK private investigations industry is not regulated by any government agency, it can be difficult to know which investigative providers are trustworthy. Before employing a private investigator you should conduct your own due diligence by checking if the investigators are registered Data Controllers with the Information Commissioners Office and professionally insured. It is also advised to only use a private investigator who is affiliated with a professional association. This should eliminate any level of doubt with regards to qualifications, industry experience and legal compliance. SPI tick all the boxes and are on the approved investigative providers list with the Association of British Investigators (ABI).
  • Is covert surveillance legal?
    Quite simply, yes. Covert surveillance is legal providing the client has a legitimate interest as to why he or she requires the service. If a husband or wife suspects infidelity within the relationship, then he or she does has a legitimate interest for the surveillance. If a business owner suspects an employee has submitted a fraudulent workplace injury claim, then the business owner has a legitimate interest for conducting surveillance.
  • I have never dealt with a private investigator in the UK before, how does it work?
    A. Hiring a private investigator UK is very straight forward. That being said, we need to know a fair amount of information in order for us to best assist with an enquiry. On occasion, it can be difficult for a client to open up about his or her ongoing concern but we like to stress that SPI are professionals and we have heard/seen it all from experience. Once we are to speed with the situation, we simply provide a quote for the appropriate service and we get to work once instructed.
  • Are private detectives in the UK expensive?
    It depends who you approach to provide your investigative services, how long the investigation takes to complete and exactly what services are required. SPI offer services at competitive rates against the industry market, and where multiple services are required, we do offer reduced rates. Please contact us for an immediate quote.
  • How can a private investigator help my business?
    Sentry Private Investigators provide support to businesses with our confidential corporate investigative services. Companies may be facing hardships due to an employee who is claiming large sums of money for a suspected fraudulent injury at work claim. Medical professionals tend to side with the claimant when injuries are exaggerated in the doctors office which is where the services of a private detective are necessary. We evidence in high definition film, the true extend of the employees injuries by means of covert surveillance operations. Please see our Investigative Services page for a general list of corporate investigation services we provide in across the UK.
  • How long does it take for a private investigator to complete an investigation?
    A. This depends on the type of private investigation being carried out. If a client suspects his or her partner is cheating, we advise on setting up a surveillance operation at a time when best to evidence these suspicions. It may require a single surveillance session when the suspected cheating partner is on a night out. Or, the partner could be away for the weekend where observations will be required for the duration. Cohabitation investigations tend to require multiple surveillance sessions at different time of the day, spanning over a longer period of time to evidence the extent of occupancy.
  • How do I hire a private investigator in the UK?
    To hire a private investigator in you have already taken the first step by researching investigative providers online. Conducting due-diligence is very important when considering who to employ as your investigative provider because there are plenty of untrained and ill equipped people out there claiming to be professional private investigators. With SPI you have the assurance of professionalism as we are on the approved investigative providers list with the Association of British Investigators (ABI). All you need to do is call now or Email with your case details and we will get to work
  • What equipment does a private investigator use?
    The world is the limit when it comes to a private investigators equipment. The gadgets readily available on the market are endless. A covert surveillance operative that is just starting out in the investigations industry will be minimally equipped with a high definition camcorder (main camera), a suitable covert camera (they come in many forms), a GPS vehicle tracker and a reliable vehicle suitable for surveillance operations.
  • Does SPI offer a guarantee on investigation services?
    SPI, nor any other reputable private detective agency offers guarantees on investigations. Due to the very nature of the type of work we do, we simply do not guarantee anything. We do however offer 'no find, no fee' people tracing services which eliminates any financial risk when trying to locate someone.
  • What evidence will a private investigator be able to provide me with from a surveillance operation?
    Covert surveillance operations provide evidence in forms of video and stills imagery. We have no control over what a data subject gets up to, but it is our job to monitor and capture the evidence as it is presented to us. Task objectives will be made clear from the offset and the surveillance teams will understand exactly what questions need answering. Our training and experience has taught us to know when and where we need to be in strategic positions to gather the evidential imagery.
  • What services do Sentry Private Investigators offer?
    Our private investigator services are tailored to the private and corporate sectors. From covert surveillance operations to open source intelligence gathering, we have a solution for your investigative requirements. For more information, please visit our Investigative Services page.
  • What should I expect when contacting a private investigator at SPI?
    When contacting Sentry Private Investigators, your investigation will be taken care of by one of our experienced case handlers from start to finish. Any questions or concerns you have will be dealt with quickly and efficiently and you will be guided through the entire process to give you peace of mind.
  • What can a private investigator do to support my business?
    Sentry Private Investigators recognise that we provide services that businesses hope to never need. We support business when they are in time of need due to serious internal issues or concerns within the workplace. For instance if an employee has submitted a suspected fraudulent workplace injury claim, or prolonged suspicious periods of employee absence. Our corporate investigation services are designed to gather evidence which in turn positions businesses in informed positions on how best to proceed with their ongoing situations.
  • Will Sentry Private Investigators offer me a discount for investigation services?
    With our close connection to the British Armed Forces and the fact that we have signed the Armed Forces Covenant, SPI offer 10% discounted rates to all serving and members of HMforces.
  • Can a private investigator find out if my partner is having a martial affair?
    Yes, Sentry Private Investigators can investigate whether or not your partner is having an affair. Private investigators are trained to gather evidence through various methods, such as surveillance, background checks, and interviews. However, it's important to note that investigating a partner's potential infidelity is a sensitive matter, and it can have emotional and legal consequences.
  • How will I receive the evidence to prove my partner is cheating on me?
    Usually, infidelity investigations require at least a single period of covert mobile surveillance. Throughout the surveillance session, SPI will be in regular contact with the client to give live updates complete with stills imagery or video evidence. On completion of the surveillance operation, within 24 hours the client will receive a video edit comprising of all video evidence gathered throughout the surveillance task. Formal reports can be provided (however not always necessary) for an additional cost.
  • I suspect my partner is having an affair, how can a private investigator prove this?
    Infidelity investigations generally require covert surveillance operations to evidence any matrimonial affairs. Throughout operations, SPI gather factual evidence through means of high definition video obtained via our covert camera systems. We evidence where the suspected cheating partner is going, who he or she is meeting with and what they are doing together. We also provide technical surveillance services which include GPS vehicle tracking and covert camera deployments. See our Technical Surveillance page for more information.
  • Can you hack my partners phone to see if he/she is messaging someone else?
    Quite simply, no. Hacking of mobile phones is illegal and is not a service we offer.
  • Will my cheating partner find out I am investigating him/her?
    Our services are entirely confidential and we would never reveal our services without the clients consent. Delivering factual evidence is our key objective as private investigators, but we also must ensure we protect our clients as we understand the implications surrounding a compromised investigation.
  • How long does it take a private investigator to conduct an extra marital affair investigation?
    The nature of the situation will determine this. We recommend setting up a surveillance operation at a time when it will be most effective to prove your allegations if you believe your partner is cheating. When the partner is out and about and suspected of cheating, only one surveillance session may be necessary. Alternately, the partner might be gone over the weekend, in which case observations will be necessary for the entire duration of the weekend. Other types of investigation such as Cohabitation investigations may call for several shorter surveillance sessions spread out over a longer period of time to demonstrate the level of occupancy.
  • Will the person I am trying to locate find out I am looking for him/her?
    SPI offer people tracing services to find missing people. We have access to a number of accurate databases which allow us to confirm current addresses and other up to date information without the people we are locating knowing about it. Our trace searches leave no digital footprints so you can be assured the subject will not be made aware of our activity.
  • My ex partner owes me a large sum of money but I don't know where he live now. Can a private investigator help find him?
    SPI provide professional trace debtor services to private and corporate clients across the West and East Midlands and the East of England. We have access to a number of effective data bases that give us up to date contact details including current addresses, email addresses and telephone numbers. Please visit our People Tracing page for more details.
  • Can a private Investigator in the UK help recover a debt?
    Private investigators are typically not directly involved in the process of recovering debts. However, SPI can play a role in providing information that may assist in the debt recovery process. Here's how: 1.Locating Debtors: If you know the debtor's identity but are having difficulty locating them, SPI can help by using their investigative skills and resources to find current addresses or contact information. 2. Asset Searches: SPI conducts asset searches to identify the debtor's financial holdings, such as real estate or other valuable assets. This information may be useful in determining the debtor's ability to repay the debt. 3. Background Checks: SPI performs thorough background checks on debtors, which may include employment history, business affiliations, and other relevant details. 4. Evidence Gathering If legal action becomes necessary, SPI may assist in gathering evidence that can be used in court to support your debt recovery efforts. This could include documenting the debtor's activities, employment status.
  • How long does it take to trace someone?
    SPI can usually trace someone to a current address within 24 hours but we ask clients to allow for 48 hours.
  • Can SPI help me to find an old friend that I haven't spoken to in years?
    Yes, within our range of private investigator services we offer people tracing services to locate long lost friends and family members. There are some data protection concerns when tracing people which will all be explained during the free initial consultation stage.
  • What details must I give when tracing someone?
    Our people tracing services are very successful at verifying up-to-date addresses, working phone numbers, and working email addresses. However, our chances of finding results from a trace search increase with the amount of information submitted to us when enquiring. The more identifiers we have (full title, date of birth, former addresses, etc.), the simpler the trace search will be. In the past, our tracing agents Melton Mowbray have performed miracles by finding individuals with very little information.
  • I am going through a divorce and I suspect my ex partner is cohabiting with someone, can a private investigator help prove this?
    Yes, cohabitation investigations require multiple periods of static surveillance to evidence where an ex partner is living, and who he or she is living with. Please visit our Cohabitation page for more information.
  • How long does it take to prove someone cohabitation?
    We always say, the more surveillance you do, the stronger your case will be for proving cohabitation. A single surveillance session can easily be contested as the argument could be that he or she was just staying the night. Conducting surveillance every other day over a period of two weeks will be hard dispute if the subject is seen to be staying the night throughout each period of surveillance.
  • How many surveillance sessions should I do to prove cohabitation.
    We always say the more the better. This is not because we want the work, its because the more times you can prove someone is staying the night and day at the property with someone else, the harder it is for them to prove they are not cohabiting. A single surveillance session wont prove much, but 3 or 4 sessions will build a clear picture of living arrangements.
  • Can a private UK investigator prove an employee is faking reasons for absence?
    Yes, SPI provide discreet covert surveillance services to prove what an employee is doing whilst they of absent from work. We often find that when an employee is claiming to unwell over extended periods of time, they are actually working elsewhere and profiting from their sick pay and additional pay from their other employer. We deliver factual evidence of where the employee is working and what they are doing in their other job role. This leaves our clients in a position to make strategic informed decisions. For more information please visit our Employee Absence page.
  • Can my company place an employee under surveillance to prove reasons for absence?
    Legally, yes. However, it is recommended to consult with internal HR departments to ensure company policies allow for this.
  • How do you prove an employees reasons for absence?
    SPI would place the employee in question under surveillance for an agreed amount of time where video evidence will be gathered to prove exactly what the employee is getting up to when he or she claims to be off work for whatever reason. Video evidence and formal reports will be provided on completion of the surveillance operations.
  • Can a private investigator gather evidence of our employee working somewhere else when she is claiming to be off sick?
    Yes, for cases like these we provide covert surveillance services which allows our agents to gather clear evidence of employees working elsewhere when they should be either absent due to illness or at work with you.
  • My employee claims he has sustained an injury at work which I suspect is fraudulent. Can a private investigator prove my suspicions?
    Sentry Private Investigators provide corporate investigations services to businesses which include suspected fraudulent workplace injury claims investigations. This service will provide evidence in form of high definition video, the true extent of an employees injuries for business owners to determine any truth behind the claim.
  • I suspect my employee has submitted a fraudulent workplace injury claim. Can a private investigator confirm is the claim is genuine?
    Yes, we are experts in the field of investigating suspected fraudulent workplace injury claims. SPI deploy experienced covert surveillance teams to evidence the extent of an employees claimed injuries to position business owners in stronger standing positions for informed decision making.
  • I am about to hire someone and I would like a background check conducted first. Can private investigators in provide detailed background checks?
    SPI provide in depth open source background checks for businesses and private clientele. We look into a wide range of data which builds a clear picture of who you are dealing with. For more information, please visit our Private Investigator Background Checks page.
  • I suspect one of our employees is working for a competitor and sharing design secrets, can a private investigator prove this?
    Yes, there are various forms of evidencing gathering techniques to prove if an employee is collaborating with a market competitor. The most effective service is usually planned mobile surveillance operations to catch the employee physically meeting with the competitor. To find out more please visit our Moonlighting page.
  • Our business is owed large sums of money from a former contractor but we cannot locate or get in touch with him. Can a private detective help locate him?
    Yes, we provide quick and effective trace debtor services. With access to live and accurate data bases, we can provide current address data, telephone numbers and email addresses.
  • I think I am under surveillance, can a private investigator find out whats going on?
    SPI are experts in the field of counter surveillance operations. They say it takes one to know one, and in this case it's true. Trained covert surveillance operatives know exactly what to look out for during counter surveillance operations, and we know how to detect surveillance without being detected ourselves. This is a specialised area of private investigating and it takes years of training and practice to do it effectively. On completion of our counter surveillance operations we will be able to confirm or disprove any suspected surveillance operations being conducted against you. For more information, please visit our Counter Surveillance page.
  • Does Sentry Private Investigators provide TSCM bug sweeping services?
    Yes, as a private detective agency SPI offer Technical Surveillance Counter Measure (TSCM) bug sweep services to individuals and businesses who suspect recording devices have been planted in the property. For more information, please visit our Bug Sweeps page.

SPI Professional Associations

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Association of British Investigators

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Armed Forces Covenant Bronze Awarded

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Institute of Professional Investigators

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UK Private Investigators Network

Contact a Private Investigator Agency

If you need the services of a professional private investigator, get in touch with Sentry Private Investigators Ltd. We work with you to establish exactly what service is required and why. We deploy the most skilled and experienced private investigators in the industry to ensure the best possible results for each case we take on.

To contact a private investigation agency, call SPI on 01217691626, or email us at

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