Discover the legal aspects of hiring a Singapore private investigator, from understanding their limitations and knowing when their services might benefit you.
Perhaps you've considered hiring a Singapore private investigator (PI) but are unsure about the legal aspects involved.
This article will help you explore the rules and regulations that govern their work. We'll shed light on the licensing requirements, the scope of their services, and the limitations they must adhere to while conducting investigations.
Is It Legal to Hire a Private Investigator in Singapore?
Yes, hiring a private investigator in Singapore is legal.
However, it's important to note that PIs are not law enforcement officers and must adhere to the country's laws while conducting investigations. As clients, it's essential to ensure the PI you hire operates within legal boundaries to avoid jeopardising your case or facing potential legal consequences.
What Does a Singapore Private Investigator Do?
These are various situations in which a private investigator's expertise might be useful in resolving personal or professional matters:
● If you suspect your spouse is being unfaithful, a PI can discreetly gather evidence to either confirm or dispel your suspicions.
● PIs can help locate long-lost friends, missing relatives, or even individuals who've skipped town to avoid financial obligations.
● In cases of suspected corporate espionage or theft, a PI can monitor employee movements to uncover wrongdoing.
● If you're concerned about a loved one's gambling habits, a PI can track their activities and provide insight into the extent of the problem.
● Private investigators can collect evidence for use in civil or criminal matters, such as litigation, child custody disputes, or insurance claims.
All Private Investigators Must Be Licensed
In Singapore, private investigators are primarily regulated by the Private Security Industry Act (PSIA). This piece of legislation governs the private security industry, ensuring that PIs operate within the confines of the law.
To conduct investigations legally, PIs must obtain a license from the Singapore Police Force.
This license grants them the authority to perform several key tasks, such as:
● Gather and provide information on a person's character, actions, or the nature of their business or occupation.
● Search for missing persons.
● Investigate the causes, origins, or responsibility for various incidents like fires, libels, losses, damages, or injuries to property.
● Locate and recover lost or stolen property or gather information related to it.
● Secure evidence for use in civil or criminal proceedings.
What Private Investigators Cannot Do
While private investigators in Singapore can perform a range of tasks within the confines of the law, there are certain activities they cannot engage in. It's essential to be aware of these limitations to ensure your PI stays within legal boundaries during their investigation.
● PIs cannot pretend to be law enforcement officers, as this would be a clear violation of the law and could lead to severe consequences for both the investigator and their client.
● They do not have the authority to make arrests. Their role is strictly limited to gathering information and evidence.
● Breaking into a house or trespassing on private property is strictly off-limits for private investigators.
● Wiretapping, bugging, or engaging in unauthorised surveillance is illegal and could jeopardise the admissibility of any evidence collected in this manner. PIs are also not allowed to trace phone calls or access phone records.
● Breaking into personal accounts or emails can be considered hacking, a violation of privacy laws, and is strictly prohibited for private investigators.
● Stalking is considered an offense under the Protection from Harassment Act (POHA). While surveillance is a key aspect of a PI's job, it's crucial to ensure that it doesn't cross the line into stalking.
● Overt surveillance and observation can cause complications and potentially be classified as stalking, which would have legal ramifications.
● Only Private Investigation Agencies, not individual PIs, can advertise these services to the public. This stipulation ensures that clients seeking investigative services connect with professional agencies that adhere to the industry's standards and regulations.
Understanding these limitations is crucial for both clients and private investigators to ensure that their investigations remain within the boundaries of Singapore's laws.
Understanding the legal framework and limitations of a Singapore private investigator is essential when considering their services.
From investigating adultery to finding missing persons, PIs can offer valuable assistance in various situations. However, it's crucial to ensure they operate within the confines of the law to avoid potential complications for yourself.