Do I Need To Be An Ex
Police Officer To Become A Private Investigator?
Private investigation is certainly not a field that can be
successfully pursued by everyone. It not only requires a lot
of hard work and dedication, but a PI also needs to possess
some very unique sets of skills. Serving a range of
clientele private investigators are often hired by banks,
attorneys, individuals, and even insurance companies. In
fact, the investigation needs of different clients are so
far apart that most PI’s prefer to specialize in a
particular field of operation. Corporate private
investigators accept work from banks, insurance firms, and
other businesses while there are PI’s who specialize only in
Lured by the promise of an exciting and adventurous
work-life many people show genuine interest in becoming a
private investigator. People looking for ways to get into
this profession often ask one common question, “Do i need to
be an ex police officer to become a private investigator?”
To be completely honest being an ex police officer does have
its advantages. In Singapore, all private investigators need
to be licensed by the Singapore Police and having a prior
police experience may work in your favor. However, that
certainly does not mean that people with no police
experience cannot be a PI. More so because working as a
private investigator and working as a police officer are
vastly different from each other. Cops, in general, are not
required to be stealthy as regular police work involves
making arrests and using force to counter crime. Apart from
that investigative police work is only carried out by
high-ranking officers and detectives. A private investigator
on the other hand, needs to be discrete, stealthy, and have
superior investigation skills.
ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF BEING AN EX POLICE OFFICER:
As mentioned before being an ex cop has its perks in terms
of private investigation but it also has its share of
downfalls. Let’s take a detailed look into understanding how
having a police background can act both as an advantage and
a disadvantage for a private investigator.
Connection With Local Police: Private investigators often
have to closely work with the local police. Having a rapport
and some valued connection can certainly help in extracting
Prior Knowledge Of Investigative Procedures:
A police officers receives a full training in investigative
procedures before joining the force and are already aware of
the most effective methods to find out what they want. This
experience is surely a positive as it ensures a speedy and
Connection With Local Informants:
Almost all police officers with a good amount of experience
have connections with street level informants. Once these
officers start working as private investigators these
contacts may prove helpful in providing valuable
May Face Trouble To Make That Professional Transition:
There are vast procedural differences between police
investigation and private investigation. Police officers who
start working as private investigators sometimes face
trouble making that transition. They no longer need to be
the guardians of the law because as a private investigator
their only objective is to extract information for clients.
They also need to discard their authoritative approach and
adopt a stealthier demeanor.
May Be Recognized By Street Level Criminals: Private investigators need to be discreet and anonymous.
Cops with years of street-level experience often run the
risk of being recognized by civilians and common criminals.
This may prove to be an unnecessary hindrance and can even
spoil an ongoing investigation.
SKILLS YOU NEED TO POSSESS TO BECOME A SUCCESSFUL PRIVATE
Doesn’t really matter if you are an ex police officer or
not, there are certain types of skills and traits that you
need to have to be a successful private investigator.
Following are a list of some of these basic skills and
Contrary to popular belief, private investigation is no
longer just about magnifying glasses and binoculars. A
modern day investigator also needs to be a computer expert.
This is mainly because there is a lot of information that
can be obtained from the internet. Some private
investigators even use specialized software to extract
information or to keep a tab on a suspect’s online activity.
A PI needs to work by remaining within the boundaries of the
law and thus needs to have a good knowledge of the law. For
example, sensitive investigative techniques such as
installing spy camera should only be done at public places
or at the client’s premises. Illegal methods such as hacking
social media accounts or breaking into a suspect’s house may
land the client and the investigative agency into legal
This is a trait that’s common in all successful private
investigator. Being naturally curious fuels the
investigative process and helps PI’s to dig up the truth.
From waiting hours for clients to bring in new work to
following a suspect around an entire city, a private
investigator needs to have oodles of patience. Being too
eager or proactive during an investigation can easily
compromise the stealth factor.
Superior Social Interaction Skill:
Interviewing people is one of the most effective techniques
employed by PI’s to get the information they want. However,
the success of this method only depends on the
investigator’s ability to interact with people.
Proficient In Self Defense:
It’s not uncommon for private investigators to get involved
in physical confrontations. Knowing a martial arts form in
these scenarios can help keep the investigator safe.
Investigators often have to change their names and go
undercover using fake aliases. What this also means is they
have to be prepared to lie whenever they are required to
without blowing their cover.
EDUCATIONAL QUALIFICATIONS FOR BEING A PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR
According to Singaporean law any private investigator
offering any kind of investigative service first needs to be
properly trained and have license issued by the right
authorities. Following are 3 basic steps that need to be
followed by anyone to become a private investigator in
Step-1 (Get Trained):
There are several accredited institutions in Singapore that
offer private investigation courses to aspirants. Enrolling
in one of these courses is a crucial step that needs to be
followed by ex police officers and civilians alike. Most of
these training programs are pretty extensive and covers
everything from law to investigation techniques.
Step-2 (Get Certified):
After successfully completing the training you need to apply
for the license. The government of Singapore does a thorough
background check and strictly tests the participants before
Step-3 (Find Job):
Once you are licensed you can start by applying for jobs in
private investigation agencies. Even if your long term goal
is to launch your own firm, don’t pass up an opportunity to
work under an established agency as it will give you
valuable industry experience.
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