Giveaway

Let's face it. Everyone loves a giveaway. If you like coffee and cameras as much as we do then you will love this. 

Impress your friends with this telephoto lens travel mug. We have three travel mugs to give away, all you have to do is "like" our page and write a comment suggesting what areas of the Private Investigation industry you would like to know more about.

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Media Mythology

The phone number was hidden, which wasn't that unusual as people often try to conceal their identity during the initial contact. She spoke in airy, whispered tones and seemed hesitant in her speech. She obviously liked the mystic and imagery of cloak-and-dagger-like activities. 

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The 2016 Indemnification Issues

What would you do if your main source of income for your business suddenly stopped, and no-one was able to indicate when or if it might recommence? 

Since the middle to late 2016 the investigative industry in New South Wales and Victoria has experienced a severe reduction in workload. Some NSW investigators I have spoken to blame it on the Four Corners episode which aired in August 2016, whilst the Victorian based investigators blame the recent Worksafe Victoria review by the Ombudsman.

Whatever the cause, Private Investigators in both New South Wales and Victoria have suffered a drought in the insurance work arena, with some beginning to drive for Uber, or even leaving the industry in the hunt for more stable work. 

 

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Have you ever been asked to do something and you weren't sure if you should?

Have you ever been asked for a "favour"?  Something which doesn't sound quite right and you get that feeling in your gut. 

It might not surprise you to learn we get these calls several times a year. Someone will call us, usually from a private number, and they will say something like, "I wonder if you can help me. I have a problem but I don't want the Police involved. Can you help me?"

Whilst we love helping people, and quite enjoy a challenge, we always stop short of doing anything illegal. 

If you have any concerns about a job, give us a call and we will advise if we can take the job, or whether we recommend you taking the matter to the police. 

Summation of licence requirements so far.

In NSW you need an individual Commerical & Private Inquiry (CAPI) Agent Licence if you are an employee of a larger business or company. If you run your own business or company and advertising for your own work, or sub-contract to larger firms, you need to hold a Master Licence.

If you are in VIC and working as an employee of a larger firm, or as a Sole Trader (and not employing anyone) you need to hold a Private Security Licence with an endorsed activity of "Investigator". If you are running a Company, Partnership, or Trust, or if you are a Sole Trader who engages other investigators, you need to hold a Security Business Licence for the services of "Investigator". 

Don't make the mistake of using unlicensed or incorrectly licenced investigators. 

Contact us and we will help you check the credentials of any PI you are considering using. 

 

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SERIES - PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR LICENSING - Part 5

Part 5 in our series to highlight the licensing requirements for Australia Private Investigators.

Did you know Victorian Investigators operating under an Australia Business Number (ABN) require a Security Business Licence?

During the past three years we have had extensive conversations with the Licensing and Regulation Division of the Victorian Police. Although the answer was initially unclear we continually sort an answer to the question, "Do I require a Business Security Licence to operate my own Private Investigation Business in Victoria?"

Eventually we were able to obtain a clear answer. It is an offence to carry on the business of providing certain private security services without a private security business licence.

(Reference: www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/vic/consol_act/psa2004217/)

SERIES - PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR LICENSING - PART 4

Part 4 in our series about licensing requirements of Australian Private Investigators. This one begins our section covering licensing in the state of Victoria. 

I have an interstate licence, can I work in Victoria?

To work in Victoria, you must have a current Victorian private security licence and/or registration. To obtain a licence/registration, you must complete an application form and supply supporting documents, including a certified copy of your current interstate licence. Please note, Victorian licences will not be issued on provisional licences from interstate.

(Reference: http://www.police.vic.gov.au/content.asp?Document_ID=12824#14)

Is your business suffering?

Businesses all have problems which require them to:

  • obtain information on the whereabouts, identity, conduct or credibility of a person or company
  • conduct background checks or searches of potential lovers, business partners or companies
  • have someone followed to see if he or she is being deceitful 
  • conduct background checks of an applicant or business partner
  • locate and recover lost or stolen property
  • verify employees' claims, such as workers' compensation claims
  • investigate a scene or interrogate a witness

We often get asked why business would employ a Private Investigator. 
Have you wondered that too?

More often than not we conduct investigations and inquiries for insurance companies, legal firms, councils, and worried spouses. In fact, we have saved our clients millions of dollars in false claims, appropriation of plants and equipment, and lost productivity.

Contact us to discuss how we can assist you.

SERIES - PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR LICENSING - Part 3

If you are using an interstate investigator and they cross the state border into New South Wales, can they continue their investigation activities?
As part of our current series we checked the NSW Police website for the answer.

Q4 - I have an interstate licence; can I use it in NSW?

No, however you can apply for a NSW licence under the Mutual Recognition Act 1992 (Commonwealth) provided your interstate licence is current, and is the equivalent licence in another state. You may still reside in another state.
Please refer to the New Applications FAQ’s for more information on applying. 

(Reference: http://www.police.nsw.gov.au/…/c…/frequently_asked_questions)

SERIES - PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR LICENSING - PART 2

When looking for a Private Investigator in NSW do you check for licence numbers in their advertisements? As part of our current series on licensing issues we found this information on the NSW Police website.

Q3 - Why do I need to put my Master licence number in advertisements?

It is a condition of a master licence to display the licence number on any advertisement or correspondence in relation to any CAPI activity carried on by the licensee. This demonstrates legitimacy to the general public and serves to distinguish and promote your business over other unlicensed CAPI businesses.

(Reference: http://www.police.nsw.gov.au/…/c…/frequently_asked_questions)

Series - Private Investigator Licensing - Part 1

As part of our current series on licensing issues within the Private Investigation field we have located some questions and answers on the NSW Police website. 
To avoid legal ramifications please ensure any investigator you hire is appropriately licensed.

Q1 - Why do I need a Master licence when I already have an Operator licence?

An operator licence authorises a person to carry out CAPI activities whilst employed by a master licence holder. If you wish to carry on business in CAPI activities, including working as a subcontractor, you must hold a Master licence.

Q2 - My employer wants to subcontract my services for financial reasons. What type of licence do I need?

Any person sub-contracting CAPI activities is required to hold a Master licence as well as an Operator Licence for the CAPI activities they undertake.

(Reference: http://www.police.nsw.gov.au/…/c…/frequently_asked_questions)

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Basic Camera Techniques

Whilst in the Army I learnt to shoot. More than that, I was trained in marksmanship and really enjoyed the middle distances, those between 800 and 1000 yards. 

Why am I telling you this? Because I believe there is a direct correlation between middle to long distance shooting and working as a Private Investigator specialising in surveillance. Let me explain. 

No client wants to receive video which makes them feel sea-sick whilst they are sitting in their office. Not only is is hard to watch but it also looks unprofessional when presented in court. I pride myself on the quality of my video and constantly aim to improve my techniques in order to provide a better product for my client. 

As such, here is a list of basic principles I use every time whilst obtaining footage. I continually hark back to the basic marksmanship principles instilled in me by the Army and have re-worded them for you below.*

1 - The position and hold must be firm enough to support the camera.

This may be an obvious point however there is no point holding your camera so loosely it falls out of your hands, or becomes unbalanced on the support. The camera must become an extension of your body and sit naturally in your hands or on your tripod, monopod, or window mount etc. 

2 - The camera must point naturally at the subject without any undue physical effort.

There is a tendency to pick up your camera and obtain that snap video in an awkward position whilst thinking "geez I'm clever, the client will love this". Invariably the "snap video" will turn into a prolonged opportunity and you will start experiencing problems. Before too long you will be forced to stop and reposition or risk inducing shake and ruining your video. Plan ahead, position yourself comfortably and let the camera do most of the work. 

3 - Alignment and frame composition must be correct.

This may be another simple point however it is worth mentioning. Some lenses focus in the centre and become fuzzier as you approach the edge. This may not be apparent whilst obtaining the footage and viewing it through the eyepiece or on the LCD screen, however, especially with the increase in High Definition video, when viewed on an HD display you will notice the difference. This issue can be resolved by placing the subject in the centre of the frame, or aiming slightly ahead of the subject if they are moving.

A side point which relates to this is the use of zoom. Once identity is established position the subject within the frame and leave the zoom alone. When watching movies in the cinema you don't see the camera zooming in and out constantly, so why do it on on your video?


4 - The shutter must be released and footage obtained without any undue physical effort.

This point may not seem relevant to camera work however it may be easier to relate it to the "old" still film photographs. When learning to take photos most people I know induced shake and blurring into the shot when pushing the shutter release button. Believe it or not, the same applies to video, especially at long range. No client wants to see the tell-tale dip or sideways movement at the beginning and/or end of a video clip because you push the button too hard. Practice holding the camera still while consciously and softly activating the camera without disturbing your frame. 

 

I hope you have found these hints and tips useful. If you have a question or are thinking about hiring a private investigator, you can always contact us first to discuss your issue. No obligation, no risk.

 

*These comments, hints, and tips remain the property of Covert Observations and cannot be copied, used or repurposed without our expressed permission and agreement.

New request for information buttons

We are currently introducing a new information enquiry program which allows prospective spousal enquiry/infidelity clients to obtain some further details before contacting us directly. Please feel free to push the button below and help us check the system. After requesting the information and adding your details you will receive a short email about the information we will be asking should you choose to continue with any spousal, infidelity investigation. 

 
 

New Camera = Super zoom

Just a short blog post to let you know we recently purchased a new camera with an extended zoom. Please take the time to have a look at the short 15 second video which shows some footage at the range of 1.54kms. This is about three quarters of the zoom capability. 

As we are still trialling the camera we are not revealing the brand or model at this time. However, if you have any jobs in our area please keep us in mind. 

If you are not doing the wrong thing, why care if you're being watched?

I thought I would share something I received by email recently.

"I have reason to believe that a company such as yours is engaged in surveillance activities on myself on behalf of my employers. For that reason, I would like to tell you that you are morally bankrupt individuals seeking profits based on the paranoia that you sew and should be considered a f***ing contagious evil virus that deserves to rot in hell for all eternity." (Censored)

And No, I'm not, nor have I been, watching this person........ paranoid much?  

The first major confrontation

After several months of conducting full-time surveillance (over 2 years ago now), I was obtaining good results, my confidence was high, and I was really enjoying work. I arrived in the vicinity of a job in Western Sydney, stopped a few houses down from the subject address and began my usual routine of describing the residence and checking for vehicles. The street was busy and the neighbours were active. Everything appeared normal. 

Several hours into the observations I noticed a resident close to my position began taking notice of my vehicle. I was confident he had not sighted me, and I was not after him, so I disregarded my "gut feeling" and continued observations. A short time later he left his address in a white dual-cab utility so I put it to the rear of my mind and pushed on. 

About half an hour later the male returned to his address with a number of children in the vehicle. He had obviously picked up the kids from school and now, after leaving the utility against the curb, the male and the kids began approaching my car. I sunk as low as I could and remained as still as possible.

They started by walking around the vehicle trying to look in the windows. When they were unable to see me they began pulling on the door handles. When they began banging on the windows I became concerned and contacted triple 0 to request assistance. I told the operator my situation and was informed the nearest assistance was 10 minutes away. 

At this point I heard the male tell one of the kids, "Go and get a brick. We'll smash the window and drag this **** out". Well that was enough for me. I jumped into the front seat, started the ignition and drove away from the location as fast as I could. 

Over a hill and around a corner I went before I stopped and contacted triple 0 again. I intended to tell them the assistance was no longer required. As I was on the phone I looked in my review mirror and saw the white utility approaching the rear of my vehicle rather quickly.

As you might expect I left as quickly as possible and began trying to lose the vehicle in the surrounding streets and heavy traffic. Unfortunately, every time I was stopped by traffic, or a red light, the white utility would stop behind me and the occupants would approach my vehicle. Several times they spat on my car, tried to open the doors and use their mobile phones to take photographs. On one occasion while I was stopped in traffic, and whilst I was still on the phone to the Triple 0 operator, the male began banging on the driver's window and shouting at me. He was so loud the triple 0 operator even stated it could be heard over the phone.

While fearing for my safety, and with due concern for other members of the public, I began using my old Police training to bypass traffic and make my way to the nearest Police Station. The triple 0 operator provided the directions over the phone and said they had informed the station staff I was coming. The white utility continued following me around the traffic congestion and through the very orange lights until I turned into the street containing the Police Station. At this point, the male took a side street and left me alone. 

I stopped outside the station and walked quickly inside, being sure to check for the white utility as I did. I was expecting to be met by the station staff and I had to wait 20 minutes before one of them was free to speak to me. I was surprised they had no knowledge of the incident.