There’s a rich mythology surrounding private eyes. We can partly thank classic detective stories like Sherlock Holmes and The Maltese Falcon for that. It’s all in fun, but it has left the public with some wrong ideas about the investigation industry.
Here are 5 top myths about private eyes in Australia.
Myth 1: Private eyes can arrest people
Investigators are normal private citizens. We have all the same rights, responsibilities and limitations you have. We aren’t police officers, and we have no special powers to search, detain or arrest anyone.
A private eye can only arrest someone through a citizen’s arrest. And citizen’s arrests are discouraged by the police because they are so dangerous.
Myth 2: Private eyes can conduct police checks
Private investigators have no power to order police record checks. Only the person whose name is on the form can request a police check.
We conduct other background checks though. Private eyes can use their connections, skills and special data sources to find out things that aren’t readily apparent to the public. The kinds of background checks we can do include relationship checks and pre employment checks.
Myth 3: Private eyes can trespass on private property
Private investigators have no special powers like police officers. We could be arrested ourselves if we trespass.
That doesn’t mean private property is always a barrier to us. We can go anywhere the public can go. Private eyes conduct surveillance in shopping centres, at sporting events and everywhere else the public goes. But we must leave if we are asked to, just like anyone else.
Investigators can also take photos or video of people who are on private property in certain circumstances.
Myth 4: Private eyes can carry concealed guns
No member of the public can carry a concealed weapon in Australia. Security and armoured guards may open carry a gun if they have a special license.
No private eye in Australia would be willing to risk prison and the loss of their career just to carry a concealed weapon.
Myth 5: Private eyes are shady
Status: Usually false!
Every industry has its less desirable side. The investigation industry is no different. But generally speaking, it’s nothing like a 1930’s noir film. We aren’t lone wolves who rough up the bad guys with a pistol in one hand and glass of whiskey in the other.
Australian private eyes are professionals. They are trained to a high standard and certified. Many have years of experience as police officers. Private eyes can be some of the most efficient and skilled workers around. And they understand how to follow the law, keeping everybody safe (including you!).
Private investigators are a lot like you. They have a job to do, and they want to do it well. If you have more questions, check out our private investigation FAQ.