Is it Legal to Hire a Private Detective in the UK – 6 Situations to Use Service in 2024

At the beginning of this article, we will immediately clear that it’s legal to hire a private detective in the UK, but there are many things to consider before such a decision. Before you take a step like that, you’ll have to consider your reasons and make sure you don’t have unethical urges to take these actions.

Private detectives are investigators who are authorized to offer services to individuals or organizations who need additional help to discover some things or something like that. They are often used when public services are limited or don’t want to go deeper into the topic and resolve the particular case. The users can collect evidence this way and represent it to the prosecution services or court so they can get the deserved justice.

When hiring private investigators UK you have to ensure they have all the needed licenses from the Security Industry Authority (SIA), so they can carry out their work legally.

Note: Not every private detective in the UK is licensed or reputable, so you must do your research in advance. The goal is to find a trustworthy person who will professionally handle the whole case.

Is it ethical to use private detectives in the UK?


This is quite a specific service to use and it’s normal to be confused. We are sure you have your reasons why you want to hire a private detective, and we really hope that the outcome is what makes your life easier.

Anyway, the use of private detectives is ethical in many circumstances, but sometimes it can be unethical since it depends on the purpose (and even methods the investigator uses).

So, how to determine if your reasons are ethical?

If you hire a detective to investigate a suspected criminal activity, you have a complete right to do that, especially when the authorities avoid doing their job. The whole process is ethical as long as the investigation is conducted in accordance with the law and the investigator follows ethical guidelines.


Here are some cases you can use private investigation services:

  • A case of fraud that made you a victim
  • Personal property theft
  • Finding a missing person
  • Finding biological family relatives
  • Gathering evidence for a specific case
  • Collecting proofs for further legal activities

We highly discourage you from hiring a private detective if you want to infringe on someone’s privacy just because you dislike the particular person. For example, don’t try to find something dirty on your ex’s current partner, just because you have money for that. It is also unethical to use private detectives to obtain confidential information through illegal means or to engage in activities that are illegal or harmful.

That’s why we highly recommend considering your reasons before dialing the detective’s number or sending them an email. Most detectives will accept any challenge, as long as the client is ready to pay for it. But, ensure your reasons are ethical, and that the detective works in a lawful manner.

When to hire a private detective?


When considering whether it’s worth not hiring a private investigator, you must be aware of your reasons. Keep in mind that being angry with your ex or a family member is not a reason, especially if you want to find any kind of dirt on them.

Still, you can use the service in other situations such as:

1. Background checks

Sometimes people need to run these checks to uncover eventual hidden information. In some cases, companies have the right to ask for a background check, especially when an employee or candidate seems suspicious, or hides something essential from them. Surely, there is a limit between ethical and unethical background checks.

2. Missing person investigations

This is a very sensitive topic, and sometimes you may not like the outcome. Surely, when it comes to kidnapping or other types of abuse you must fight with everything you have in your hands. But when looking for long-lost relatives or biological parents, you may get disappointed if they didn’t really want to find you.

3. Legal and fraud investigations

Private detectives may go deeper into investigating cases of fraud and other financial crimes. It may extend to civil lawsuits, divorces, or even criminal defense when the person who orders the service is sure something happens behind their back.

4. Corporate investigations

Big corporations sometimes hire private investigators to run employee background checks, intellectual property theft, or other forms of corporate espionage. Sometimes it meets the ethical rules, but you must be very careful with this one.

5. Security and surveillance

Private detectives sometimes may investigate a person for safety reasons. Additionally, they can monitor specific people to gather information, especially when they break the law in any possible way.

6. Indidelity cases

Sometimes people use these services so they can use the evidence in a legal proceeding or personal closure and find inner peace.

How to make the final decision?


When you are clear with your reasons, it’s time to ensure you have the best partner by your side. Keep in mind that this service can be quite expensive, so you must be sure you really want to proceed with further activities.

As we are sure your reasons are ethical and you won’t misuse the gathered information, we suggest researching the current market or even asking for recommendations. The goal is to spend your money wisely and even interview the detective before hiring. Many people represent themselves as private investigators, but they don’t have the needed certifications for that. And you mustn’t settle for such a service.

Final words

Hiring a private detective is a delicate decision and requires a lot of attention. Make sure you hire this person with clear intentions and be honest with them. Sometimes, they will have to deny serving you, especially if you go beyond their legal obligations. Don’t expect miracles, because not every case is resolved the way you want it to be.

And finally, make sure you’re right with every possible outcome. Sometimes, the evidence you get may change your life and uncover many secrets. That’s why you must be sure you are fine with all of it.

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