Private investigators have made their way into some of the biggest TV shows, movies and books in history. Whether it’s The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew or the iconic Sherlock Holmes, fictional private investigators have become an integral part of modern culture. However, like all the best fiction, their stories were inspired by real life. Private investigators have had their good names tarnished in recent years – largely due to the phone hacking scandal. Despite the introduction of new legislation in the UK, they still play an important role in finding people and uncovering wrongdoing in all spheres of society. And anyone looking for evidence of just how important their role is should examine the lives of five of the most high-profile private investigators the world has ever known.
Eugène François Vidocq
Eugène François Vidocq was perhaps the world’s first celebrity private investigator. He started his career in detective work for the French police, and is widely credited with developing the profession into a serious concern. During his incredible life, Vidocq walked a fine line between crime-fighting and criminality, but his skills as a detective were revered throughout France. Several times a fugitive, Vidocq left the French police force in 1832, and after a few failed ventures, he created one of the world’s first private police agencies. It wasn’t long before the authorities closed it down, however, but wealthy French citizens would continue turning to Vidocq for many years afterwards, such was his reputation. The world’s first detective lived a life of contradictions, but there is little doubt that he was one of the most accomplished private investigators ever to grace the profession.
Ignatius “Paddington” Pollaky
Ignatius Pollaky was renowned throughout Victorian London and 19th-century Europe for being a highly skilled and charismatic private detective. However, according to the author Matt Kuhns, he was a sinister man who had a strange fascination with the criminal mind. Born in 1828, Pollaky based himself in the Paddington Green area of London, and he specialised in tracking fugitives and solving mysteries. Pollaky’s fame was so widespread at the peak of his career, he was mentioned in several poems and songs – which was surprising given his proclivity for secrecy and privacy. Pollaky’s obsession with criminality and his own sinister personality were credited as the reasons for his apparent genius, as they purportedly allowed him to think like the fugitives and criminals he was tracking. Indeed, until Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote his first Sherlock Holmes novel, Pollaky enjoyed legend status across the world.
Born in Scotland in 1819, Allan Pinkerton created a private detective agency whose legend lives on. Pinkerton became a private investigator almost by accident – after helping authorities in Chicago to catch a prolific burglar. He was the city’s first full-time detective, operating under the banner of the North Western Police Agency, which would later be renamed as the Pinkerton National Detective Agency. To this day, the agency still operates under the name of Pinkerton Consulting and Investigations. Allan Pinkerton and his sons operated what is believed to be America’s first, federal police service, and they helped to infiltrate spy networks and terrorist rings during the American Civil War. However, they are perhaps best known for tracking down the infamous Jesse James and for the foiling of an assassination plot against President Abraham Lincoln. Allan Pinkerton was a devout Christian who extolled the virtues of equality for women and Christian values, but he was feared by the most infamous criminals in America. Such was his reputation, Pinkerton’s agency operated as the driving force behind the Union Intelligence Service, which would later become the Secret Service.
Raymond C. Schindler
Raymond C. Schindler had worked as an insurance agent, a typewriter salesman and a gold miner before starting his career as a private investigator in San Francisco. He started working as a researcher for the local police force, but quickly rose through the ranks to become a chief lieutenant. His detective skills were earning a reputation within the law enforcement community, which led a job as the head of the New York branch of a major national detective agency. His branch of the agency was known as the Schindler Bureau of Investigation, and his reputation for catching criminals and solving mysteries soon became widespread. Such was his public profile, he attracted the attention of Scotland Yard in London, and he would later become a fellow of the British Detectives Association. Despite Schindler’s professional achievements, he was known for his love of partying, and he was a regular attendee of the biggest social events in New York City – earning him a secondary reputation as something of a celebrity.
Perhaps better known for being a movie star, J.J. Armes started his career in the spotlight as a private investigator in Texas. He claims to have worked for Elvis Presley and Elizabeth Taylor during his illustrious career, and he also boasts of never having failed a client. Armes is perhaps best known for his prosthetic hands – required after a childhood accident. He wears distinctive claws as hands, which simply adds to the legend. He now operates an agency in Texas called ‘The Investigators’, and there are rumours that a new TV series will chronicle his incredible life.
Often referred to as the American Sherlock Holmes, Ellis Parker had an international reputation as a genius in the world of investigation. He enjoyed a near 100 percent success rate in the murder cases he investigated, and his services were in demand right across America. However, the ill-fated decision to take on the case of the Lindbergh baby kidnapping would lead to an early grave. Unable to solve the crime through legal means, Parker resorted to kidnapping and torture to get to the truth – he died in prison just hours before a presidential pardon. He was a pioneer of psychological profiling, and his exceptional skills are still lauded to this day.
These 6 famous private investigators were pioneers; they helped to develop the discipline of detective work that is now commonplace around the world. When they first started perfecting their art, detectives were regarded as oddballs, and in some cases, criminals. There is a commonly held belief that private investigators have always tried to emulate police forces and their methods of investigation; in actual fact, history shows that the opposite is true.
5 ways to catch your partner out if they are cheating
Short of catching your partner in bed with another person, it can be hard to get enough evidence together to confront them if you suspect them of being unfaithful. Of course, you could just well, confront them, but there are a few factors to consider here.
Firstly, they may be entirely innocent. Those text messages on his phone could have an honest explanation whilst that restaurant meal receipt in her purse may have been a totally innocuous night out with one of the girls. And secondly, if your partner is having an affair and you call them on it, they might take that affair deeper underground and you might never know for sure one way or another. That could mean years of torment and uncertainty for you.
The key to knowing for sure lies in collecting evidence in such a way that your partner never suspects a thing. Here are a number of ways you can do that without damaging your relationship should your partner actually be innocent.
1. Dear diary
Whilst you might be tempted to question your partner on their comings and goings, this might start to get annoying for them after a while and could arouse their suspicions that you know something. If you suspect your partner is cheating, keeping a diary can help you to piece the puzzle together over the coming few weeks. Whether he has lied about working late or she is always talking about the new guy at work, you can start to get the facts down on paper. This will help you to build a pattern of events and can help you to back up your suspicions if you do decide to confront your partner.
2. Analyse that phone bill
If you can manage it, take a copy of your partner’s mobile phone bill for scrutiny in private. Highlight any numbers you are not sure of. Don’t call them. Instead, enter the number into a normal Google search to see what comes up. You’d be surprised how much information people put on their social media accounts for example so you could strike gold immediately. Analyse the type of contact that has been made to each number. For example, are there lots of SMS entries for one particular number? Also check the times that messages were sent. Your partner is going to have a hard time explaining those 16 text messages sent during the small hours.
3. Hire a private investigator
If you really want to find out whether your partner is doing the dirty on you, a private matrimonial investigator is the most effective method. Private investigators are trained professionals who will track the movements of your partner without them ever suspecting a thing. Evidence collected may include still photographs, videos, evidence of hotel stays and a full report that fully details your partner’s movements over a set period of time. Before you hire a private investigator of this type, ask yourself whether you really want to know the truth because a good PI is going to get it for you.
4. Check social media accounts
It really is shocking what people are prepared to share on Facebook and Twitter. These social media platforms have become a natural extension of our daily lives. As a result people often forget who can see their profile – for example, a photo they thought was private is actually visible to all friends and followers, and of course you. And if your partner has blocked you from seeing their profile then you have huge cause for concern. What is it they don’t want you to see? And if they are constantly disappearing out of the room to read social media messages, they are probably hiding something.
If you know your partner’s login details for their social media accounts, use them. They will have no way of knowing that you have been snooping around and you could find the incriminating evidence that you are looking for.
5. Be blatant
If you really cannot bear to wait any longer or you are finding it difficult to snoop on your partner, asking them outright whether they are cheating on you may be your best option. The trick here is in the question you ask and gauging their reaction to that question. Don’t give your partner the chance to wriggle out of answering or being able to think up a quickfire reason why they weren’t where they said they were last night. Keep the mood calm and ask when they are least expecting confrontation. Whilst you are watching TV or eating dinner is a good time. Your partner will be relaxed and their brain will be less able to think on the fly. A simple “Are you cheating on me” will suffice.
There are many body language giveaways for when somebody is lying. Scratching the side of the nose, looking away when answering direct questions and stumbling over words are some of the most obvious signs. Of course, your partner may just hold up their hands and admit to their affair and you need to be prepared for that. Even if you have the strongest suspicions, these can never fully prepare you when the truth comes out.
There are many reasons why people have affairs, many ways to do it and also many ways that they can be caught out. A cheating partner does not expect to be found out, but for many adulterous spouses out there, the game is up thanks to new technology, private investigation firms and useful advice like this. You may not want to know the truth, but isn’t the truth better than feeling like second best, always having doubts about your relationship or wondering where your partner is or who they are with? Whether you find out that your partner was cheating or it was all a misunderstanding, you will, one way or another, be able to get on with your life.
We have been racking our brains to see how many songs we can come up with that have references to private detectives. The first one and most obvious song that staff in the office mentioned was Dire Straits 1982 hit ‘Private Investigations’. This song remains one of Dire Straits most popular songs that reached number 2 in the UK charts.
The next song that came to mind was Issac Hayes song ‘Theme From Shaft’, this song was written by Hayes as part of the Soundtrack album to the film called Shaft, starring Richard Rowntree. This tune also won an Oscar for Best Original Song. Theme From Shaft peaked at number 4 in the UK charts.
The next song someone came up with is the song by Hall and Oats called Private Eyes, taken from the 1981 album of the same name. This song only reached number 32 in the UK charts but topped the US Billboard Hot 100.
The songs above were pretty easy to think of, if you can think of any other songs with references to private investigators or private detectives then please do get in touch with us and we will include it on this list. Lets see how many songs we can get on it.
I’m sure if we were to do some research we could find more, however we would like to interact with whoever reads this and let you think of some other songs.
So it’s over to you, please send your suggestions by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, if you would like your name included then please include it in your email.
Stephen Rimmer and The Serious Organised Agency (SOCA) are going to look into whether any of it’s directors have links to private investigators after fears that the organisation is linked too closely with the industry.
The Chairman of SOCA, Stephen Rimmer, who only recently became the Chairman after Sir Ian Andrews resigned from the position back in July, will be making contact with senior members of the organisation to investigate if any of them undertake private security sector work.
The release of the list which has around 100 names of companies and high profile individuals, which suggest they instructed rouge private detectives who were convicted of blagging sensitive information, was going to be released today.
The release of the names contained within the list has now been delayed until after a meeting which is taking place tomorrow. Police have stated the by releasing the list of names could compromise ongoing investigations. Some MP’s are said to be somewhat annoyed that SOCA did ‘absolutely nothing’ in dealing with the clients of the rouge private detectives until June. A spokesperson said ‘I am not convinced the current inquiry, which has suddenly been set up in the last few weeks, will follow the evidence without fear or favour’.
Over the weekend it was revealed that the X-Factor and TV tycoon, Simon Cowell was included on the list, however that is still to be confirmed. A spokesman for Cowell denies that he instructed any private investigators. Also reported to be on the list are law firms Herbert Smith Freehills and Clyde and Co, together with accountants Deloitte. SOCA have stressed that being on the list does not necessarily mean any intentional wrongdoings took place.
North Court Investigations Director, Matt Thomas, will be attending the Association of British Investigators (ABI) seminar which is taking place at the Heritage Motor Centre in Warwickshire on the 20th September.
It is estimated that up to 200 private investigators from all over the country will be attending. The main speaker present on the day is Bill Butler the Chief Executive Officer of the Security Industry Authority (SIA). The seminar will present a great opportunity to those in attendance to pose questions to Mr Bill Butler about the licensing plans for private investigators in England and Wales, which were announced in July by the home Secretary, Theresa May.
One of the main concerns within the industry is the cost involved. Individuals are expected to pass a Government recognised examination, will have to undergo a thorough criminal record check, which will all cost money.
Once the applicant has successfully proved he/she is fit to obtain a licence there will be a fee levied to hold such a licence…….which yes, will cost money. The industry is hoping the SIA understands these concerns and attempts to keep costs as low as possible.
The licensing of private investigators is, after all, being implemented to clean up the industry for the good of the consumer and to seek out those that are thought not to be fit and proper to practise. Licensing is not being implemented to be a money making scheme for the SIA!!
Another question that may get asked to Bill Butler is……’why is a licence NOT required if you are a journalist (who often undertake investigations for stories) or activities exclusively relating to obtaining information for journalists or broadcasters’ Surely the latter makes a mockery of the whole phone hacking scandal/Leveson Inquiry, whereby those guilty of offences were obtaining information for the News of the World etc etc.
So is it correct to think that those who work solely for newspapers or broadcasters can do everything we as private investigators do but will not be expected to hold a licence?
Many more questions will no doubt be put to Bill Butler at the ABI seminar on the 20th September.
Other speakers attending on the day will be Raymond Clark, who will be giving a presentation about industry qualifications, Nicola Ashby, discussing process serving and Alan Blaney who will be talking about Statement Taking.
It will be a very interesting and informative day.