Any individual may have a need to have another investigated for purposes that do not directly relate to law enforcement matters or do not wish to alert the law enforcement on the matter. When this instance occurs, private detectives are hired to instigate an investigation on their behalf.
Private detectives are freelance investigative professionals who can be hired by anyone to provide information, surveillance, background checks, and other records that are inaccessible to the individual who has hired them. People may hire private detectives to investigate private matters or assist lawyers in tracking a witness or providing information relevant to a court case. Private detectives may also work in tandem with local law enforcement agencies.
People who work as private detectives have a background in criminal and civil investigation. Such individuals are usually retired from the military or from the police force. Private detectives are solicited by anyone who is in need of investigative services. An insurance company may hire private detectives to investigate a possible fraudulent claim. It is also possible that a spouse may hire a private detective to investigate any suspicions of infidelity of his or her spouse.
Private detectives are not sworn to abide by the law as law enforcement officers are; thus, they cannot work with the same latitude as police officers. Like every other civilian, they can only make citizen arrests. It is common that private detectives work for an agency that specializes in an investigative field such as insurance fraud or surveillance. However, each private detective can cater to the needs of the client.