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What Can’t A Private Detective DO ???


There are dozens of things that a private detective  will be able to do for you in their line of work, with all legal means at their disposal. Whether they’re attempting to locate a lost relative or biological parent, find out whether a partner is cheating or uncovering workplace theft, they will use their considerable expertise to get you the answers you’re looking for.


All that said, there are lots of things that a private detective can’t do, as they’re bound by law like everyone else. An investigator isn’t a bypass of state and federal laws so you can’t ring a PI and ask them for something illegal – it doesn’t work like that. So, with this in mind, in this blog, we’re going to be looking at a selection of things that an agency won’t be able to do for you – no matter how much you might want them to. So, let’s dive in and see what’s what.


Private detective agents cannot…


Impersonate Police Officers or Statutory Authorities


While some private eyes might carry an official-looking ID badge, what they cannot do is pretend that they’re acting as a police officer. When interviewing people in relation to a crime, it can be easy for the interviewee to think that they’re talking to law enforcement, but saying that you are the police to get answers is a big no no. In fact, one unscrupulous private detective in Sydney lost his license and went to jail for pretending to be from the Australian Federal Police. It’s the same for statutory authorities such as government departments or other agencies – a private detective just can’t make these assertions.


Knowingly Break the Law


A dedicated private detective  will do everything in their power to get results for their clients, but they’re not able to do anything that breaks the law. Far from being shady operators, modern firms are licensed and will adhere to the highest legal and ethical standards. So, no trespassing, harassing, breaking and entering or anything prohibited by law. It’s just not worth the trouble later. We won’t be calling a police mate to access a criminal record, or we won’t be calling someone at TMR to get the owner of a vehicle. Private information remains private information for a reason – usually for someone’s protection.


Arrest Someone


Despite what some people think, private investigators  have no arrest powers whatsoever – which is why your average P.I. doesn’t carry handcuffs! If there’s clear evidence that laws have been broken and an arrest is required, the private eye in question will need to let the police know and allow them to take the necessary action. Many a time we’ve had an agent out on surveillance discreetly watching an address, where a crime happens unrelated to the address but as our agent is there he’ll film it and call it into the police.  We have no legal powers whatsoever – a private investigator license just allows us to work in a regulated manner.


Track a Car By GPS Without Owner Consent


GPS trackers are great bits of kit for keeping a close eye on where a particular vehicle has been travelling, but they can’t just be used willy nilly. In most states of Australia the owner’s permission must be given, so a husband/wife would be able to grant permission to track the vehicle if their name is on the logbook. Consent is an absolute must regardless of the reason for using the tracker, and in theory anyone driving the vehicle must be notified that the vehicle in question is being tracked.  We can still sell a tracker, but installing it and using it is another problem. Usually, the tried and tested method of surveillance will get your results for you.


Obtain Sensitive or Protected Info with Reason or Consent


Something else that your average private detective  is also prevented from doing is obtaining protected data about a person with a legal reason or consent. We’re talking about sensitive personal information like bank account transactions, mobile phone bills and anything that might have these kinds of protections. Australian privacy laws are very strict and a licensed private detective is not a bypass of these privacy laws.


Don’t Worry – There’s Plenty of Things A Private Detective CAN Do


What these exceptions show you is that private detective  agencies are reputable, law-abiding companies that have to follow the law. A reputable firm will be at pains to point that out to you too, so if you ever come across a company that IS happy about doing this kind of thing, then you should probably do everything you can to avoid them. The repercussions can be very severe. Imagine you buy a phone monitoring program from one of the less than respected agencies and you install it on your partners phone. Then this agency gets raided by the police and find that you are the purchaser of such a program. It is only a matter of time before you’ll be involved in a criminal case with the police.


The good news is that there are plenty of things that private investigators  are able to do for you legally, allowing companies like ours to get solutions to all kinds of personal issues. If you’d like to learn more about what those things are, visit us online today at where you’ll find everything you could possibly need to know.


Alternatively, to speak directly to our expert team about your precise needs, call us today on 07 5646 9706 and they’ll be able to tell you all about how we can help. We are also available by email at any time at