They say cameras never lie. Get caught on camera doing something you shouldn’t and in court the video or photographic evidence is almost always conclusive. Properly conducted surveillance services work, whether overt or covert, is one of the best ways to make your case in court.
Video or photographic evidence can be extremely compelling at court and surveillance can often result in an early settlement or resolution of case. This form of evidence gathering is used by law firms, insurance companies and others in areas such as personal injury, employment law, suspected theft or fraud and, where appropriate, for other cases.
Taking part in surveillance can often be uneventful but cases do occur every so often when excitement levels rise. Take the case of a Russian businessman in the UK who suspected his partner of dodgy dealing. His partner happened to be an ex-spy . . .
The Spy Who Came In From The Forest
Blackhawk Investigations’ Jerry Young describes how the partner was being followed when he entered a hotel, picked up a briefcase and then drove down the M3. He stopped in a lay-by, and walked with his briefcase into the nearby New Forest. Blackhawk staff caught up with him whereupon he produced a self-assembled shotgun he had carried in the briefcase. Fortunately, the Blackhawk staff managed to talk their way out of the situation and apprehended the Russian, who may have inadvertently been tipped off at work that he was under surveillance. It was quite a challenge but had a happy ending!
Human Witnesses Are Important
Human witnesses were needed in this case to corroborate the story, much of which had been videoed anyway. Photo/film evidence can often result in an early settlement or resolution of a case and is used by law firms, insurance companies and others in areas such as personal injury, employment law, suspected theft or fraud.
How Does Surveillance Work?
A surveillance services agency such as Blackhawk often works closely with lawyers, business and individual clients on assignments, using mobile surveillance on foot or in vehicles, and/or static surveillance, where a high quality and suitably discreet camera is left on record.
Where requested or felt necessary, we produce daily or weekly progress reports and monitor the results with our client. The rapidly changing nature of ongoing surveillance work and the results it achieves can determine if the operation continues or not, saving our clients costs and time.
What Techniques do we use for surveillance?
How Easy is it to Cross The Legal Line in Surveillance?
SurveilIance services have to be legally carried out or evidence, often hard-won and the result of many hours’ work, will not be admissible in court. The closing of the national Sunday newspaper, The News of The World, was the direct result of unlawful intrusion into people’s lives through phone hacking. You are also not allowed to gain evidence on an individual or business by setting up surveillance devices attached to their private property, be it mobile phone, car or home.
Whenever surveillance is planned, you should always use operators who know how to gain evidence but who also respect strict legal guidelines on surveillance activities regarding people’s human rights. Any transgressions can lead to prosecution both for the operator and the commissioning client.
When Should I Call on Surveillance Services?
At Blackhawk we undertake surveillance services for a wide range of reasons. We have insurance companies as regular clients because they constantly need to check if claimants are lying or not. Claims of whiplash “injuries” in car accidents, for instance, can often be exaggerated or fictitious, with people being contacted and then urged on to claim by sometimes over-zealous, unscrupulous “no win, no fee” legal practices. Photo evidence can prove some claimants are actually physically active and going into work, despite their injury claims.
Surveillance can be used to follow up missing persons. Blackhawk traced a highly-paid city trader, who went absent without leave, to Monaco, followed him for several days, before showing he was collaborating and going to work for a rival company.
How much do I need to tell my staff?
Marriage and divorce disputes over alleged infidelities and hidden personal assets are another area where legally conducted surveillance can provide conclusive proof.
And, of course, overt CCTV cameras can legitimately be set up in the workplace to ward off the threat of theft or bullying, while employers can undertake digital monitoring of staff phone, email and general internet usage.
At Blackhawk we can advise on workplace surveillance policies because we know and adhere to the necessary legal guidelines. As ever, ignorance of the law is no defence. So be advised to do an impact assessment on how monitoring might affect your business, be upfront with your staff about your plans and, if you have any doubts, call us today.
For more details on surveillance issues, or to arrange a free consultation about our surveillance services, please call us on 020 7788 8983.