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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 220836 
Title: Private Investigation (From Handbook of Criminal Investigation, P 277-298, 2007, Tim Newburn, Tom Williamson, and Alan Wright, eds. -- See NCJ-220829)
Author(s): Les Johnston
Date Published: 2007
Page Count: 22
Sponsoring Agency: Willan Publishing
Portland, OR 97213-3644
Sale Source: Willan Publishing
c/o ISBS, 5804 N.E. Hassalo Street
Portland, OR 97213-3644
United States of America
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Book Chapter
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: After defining "private investigation," this chapter reviews the history of private investigation in North America and Great Britain, followed by discussions of the structure and functions of the private investigative sector, its ethics and regulation, and its interface with public policing.
Abstract: An investigator is defined as "someone who tracks or traces out something that is missing, something that has occurred, or something that was or is known by someone but remains hidden." A "private" investigation occurs when it is conducted by someone who "either runs or is employed by a business which provides investigative services for a fee." By far the biggest boost to private investigation occurred in Great Britain as a result of the Matrimonial Causes Act of 1857, which enabled privately employed investigators to develop a role in the field of divorce. Another area of investigative activity for private investigators was the infiltration of factories and worker organizations in order to collect information related to labor disputes. The investigative industry in Britain ranges in composition from small firms and lone operatives to large companies that serve international clients. An overview of the functions of private investigators in the United Kingdom published in December 2005 listed 90 work areas, which included fraud investigations, various types of surveillance, home-purchase investigations, and nanny investigations. In Britain, new regulatory systems for private investigators were introduced under the Private Security Industry Act 2001. It established an independent body, the Security Industry Authority, which licenses individuals who work in private security, including private investigators. Increasingly, private investigators are being viewed by the public police as partners in the effort to increase the safety of the public and as supplementary investigative alternatives that the public deems necessary due to the limited resources of the public police. 41 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Foreign police; Police-private police cooperation; Private investigators; Private police; Public/private police comparisons
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