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Surveillance – An Investigator’s Leading Information Source

As old fashioned as it sounds, visual surveillance is still one of the key information sources a private investigator can use. Video footage does not lie – so if an irrefutable outcome is required in an investigation matter, surveillance will yield those results without argument. Every since the camera was invented it has been used to document history, and is a primary tool in gathering evidence in countless investigations across the world.

Types Of Surveillance

The word surveillance is a fairly broad term, but narrowing it down to the private investigation industry it is basically the visual act of gathering evidence. This is usually via a camera of course but on some occasions a camera may not be available so the sworn testimony of a person can often go a long way in presenting evidence as well. But here at Gold Coast Investigations our agents are never without a camera of some type, be it a video camera, still camera, covert camera or even a mobile phone. However the generic word surveillance in the investigation industry really falls into three types of surveillance:

Static Surveillance

The act of remaining in one position recording movements to and from a location without leaving the location. Let’s think of a fixed street surveillance camera that the council might use, or a licensed private investigator secreted in a vehicle watching movements from a given address

Foot Surveillance

This is exactly as it sounds – it is where a private detective follows a person on foot. for example, the subject of the investigation may go for supposed walks of an afternoon and an investigator wil have to establish what the person is doing during these walks. Foot surveillance is used in this situation as we literally have to follow the person on foot.

Mobile Surveillance

This is probably the most common form of visual monitoring. A subject will leave a location usually by vehicle and a private investigator will have to use mobile surveillance to be able to follow the subject to their destination so they can determine what activities are being undertaken at that location. So the actual pursuit of the vehicle is known as ‘surveillance’ as well as the process of filming the person to gather the hard evidence.

Of course, most investigation assignments we undertake use a combination of all of the above types of visual monitoring. In most scenarios we will commence our observation period at a given address and remain static until there is some movement detected. This can take minutes, hours or even days before movement is noted. Then once the person departs the address we then follow in a vehicle for example until they get to a destination. Upon arriving at the destination the subject may then get out of the vehicle and walk a distance to their ultimate location – so of course we follow in this instance using foot surveillance.


There are many gadgets available in today’s world that can assist with surveillance results but an investigator needs to be careful of local laws. There are many avenues of potential observation that would be illegal to use within Australia and here at Gold Coast Investigations we won’t be breaking any laws for you. Some other businesses will try to sell you phone bugging programs and vehicle trackers but these are mostly illegal and they don’t record the visual aspect of an investigation result. Only video footage provides the true result of what is happening, and in context. Of course our field agents all carry up to date video cameras and covert cameras. And nowadays, even the cameras on mobile phones are becoming super high quality and they too are a tool in a private investigator’s arsenal.

Where Is Surveillance Useful?

Surveillance is used as evidence in a multitude of different matters. Of course the term ‘surveillance’ as described above is the act of monitoring visually using a variety of techniques. But where do these techniques come in handy?

Insurance Matters

We’ve all seen this on A Current Affair or Today Tonight – insurance investigators catching out people claiming to be injured at work, or on a premises where they claim through an insurance company. This is probably the bread and butter work for most private investigators in Australia and involves keeping an eye on a claimant for a number of hours to see what sort of mobility that have compared to what they might be claiming is the case. Not all claimants are investigated visually, only those that hit the radar of the insurer. This type of observation is not limited to insurance companies though – many companies self-insure and come to us directly for this sort of service. Or there may the a business who has an employee off work and they know the claimant is not as injured as they say, but the actual insurer is not taking an interest in this case. This is where a private investigator can help as well – you don’t need to be the insurer to use an investigation service.

Personal Issues

If you are suspicious that your spouse or partner might be involved with someone else, then often only a private investigator can get your answers. An experienced surveillance investigator can gather the visual evidence required so that you can approach your partner and prove to them they you aren’t crazy, and they are indeed cheating with someone else. Or you could be worried about your children and what they get up to after school or when they disappear on the weekend – visual observation will give you the peace of mind that things are okay, or that things may need addressing. Our sister agency Lipstick Investigations is Australia’s foremost relationship investigation firm and shares the same management team, so you can be sure that we are well versed in this type of surveillance investigation.

Business Investigations

The business world is wide and varied. There are all sorts of reasons a business might need to carry out surveillance. It might be on a staff member claiming to be sick; or trying to identify theft from within the workplace; or maybe tracking a sales representative whose figures are down and doesn’t appear to be working very hard. The reasons for business surveillance are almost endless.

Legal Matters

Again there are limitless reasons to use visual surveillance in a legal matter. Solicitors use private investigators to gather all sorts of evidence to help them conduct their cases. Either in family law matters to prove a deadbeat dad is dropping the kids off at his parents during access visits or that a wife is working when she claims not to be – making the husband having to pay more in child support. Then there are criminal defense matters trying to prove someone that has been charged by the police may not be guilty after all. Or the solicitor can be acting for business of course and the same issues come to hand as described under business surveillance.


So if you think surveillance may be useful to you in your own situation, give the experts a call on 5646 9716 or email is directly at and we’d only be too happy to advise how we can help in your individual circumstance..