Surveillance in the UK: What You Need to Know

Surveillance is one of the most valuable investigative tools when insights into a corporation or individual’s day-to-day activities, movements and general lifestyle is required.

Although stationary cameras are commonly used to protect businesses and homes, many situations call for a more mobile, covert solution. In this post, we will explore the different types of surveillance available in the UK, the types of operations and the benefits.

If you’re looking for either mobile or static surveillance in the UK, our experienced team of private investigators will work with you to create the perfect service to suit your needs.

What Is Surveillance and When Can It Be Useful?

Surveillance is simply the close observations of a person or place in an effort to document interactions or whereabouts of a subject/s. The main aim of a surveillance operation is to provide extensive information and reports that allow our client to come to an unbiased conclusion.

Why Do We Need Surveillance?

There are several reasons that people and business may require a surveillance operation:

  • insurance claims
  • infidelity
  • child support / benefit fraud
  • fraud investigations
  • criminal investigations
  • peace of mind operation

The discretion of these services means that companies and individuals are able to collect unbiased data to help them through investigations, court cases, divorce proceedings, etc.

Will the Surveillance Target Know?

We can categorically state that the answer to this question is a resounding NO.

Our Surveillance Agents are diverse and have a wealth of experience in investigative backgrounds. They have perfected the art of blending into whatever community or surrounding area that is required. Their ultimate objectives are obtaining crucial information and doing so in an incredibly covert way. We have male and female Agents available to work both within rural and urban environments.

You also play a role in maintaining the security of the operation. We ask that when engaging with us, you do not change any of your daily routines or communications. This is to ensure that the target is not alerted to us or any potential operation as we believe that there are three types of targets; Non-aware, Semi-aware, Very aware.

If you think the target is very aware of the possibility of surveillance, we would recommend extending the team or the hours but we must know beforehand so we can analyse the best way to handle the job.

What Are the Most Common Types of Surveillance?

There are many different surveillance methods which can lead to the gathering of important information, however, the surveillance type and the equipment used will depend on the type of case being investigated.

Physical Observation 

Investigators will spend time physically observing a person or location and will gain evidence of movements and interactions that occur, most often providing photographic or video evidence. This may involve following a person/persons and is often conducted over several days or weeks to gain a greater understanding. We have operatives trained to perform physical surveillance worldwide.

Electronic Observation

Electronic surveillance equipment is a commonly used tool in our surveillance operations.  We use state of the art GPS car tracking devices that allow real-time location of a vehicle.  This can be used in infidelity operations or such cases where an employer may wish to track company vehicles.


Interviews are far less common but are employed in investigations such as fraud or missing persons cases.  An operative may interview family, friends, co-workers or local sources in an effort to gain insights into the subject and narrow down a search. Our team of surveillance experts are ready to advise on what may be the best type of operation to suit your needs.

What Are the Different Types of Physical Surveillance Operations?

Overt vs Covert

There may be operations where our operatives can be overt or open with their intentions, such as during a missing persons operation or some fraud investigations, however, most of our surveillance operations are performed covertly.

Covert operations require the operative to remain undetected. The majority of our cases require covert operations. An example of this would be following a partner during an infidelity operation. In this case, we do not want the subject to know that they are being followed, and our experts are trained to remain undetected.

Static vs Mobile

Static Surveillanceis an operation where an Agent will be stationed outside a property/location and will be employed to film and record the movements of a person, or persons at an address or location. This is normally undertaken by one Agent.

Mobile Surveillance is when we are instructed to follow a person/persons. It is normally undertaken by a team of two or more Agents all moving from one area to another, even across towns or the country. This can be on foot or by vehicle, on trains, buses and any other forms of transport depending on the requirements of the client. Mobile Surveillance is a very spontaneous operation and we need to cater to that by ensuring we have enough operatives.

We have the capabilities of using a variety of vehicles applicable to the job as well as all the latest technology and equipment to capture the required evidence for our client.

What Are the Benefits of a Surveillance Operation?

Surveillance operations often give definitive answers that would not have been gained by other investigative methods. Often, our clients also need the physical evidence of photos or video to either confirm their suspicions or put their mind at ease.

At Global Investigations, we provide a detailed surveillance report for your records and depending on what has initially been agreed, we will produce video footage, stills and photographs.

Often, we are asked on whom we report to and that is purely our client and our client alone. We do not report our findings to anyone else nor do we volunteer our information or reports to a national or public body as we have client confidentiality in place. For further information please see our Privacy Policy.

Furthermore, our surveillance is conducted within all relevant guidelines set out by The Association of British Investigators (ABI) of which senior personnel have been active members since 1996.

Speak to a Surveillance Expert Today

Call us now on 02082877770 to discuss the right type of surveillance to suit your needs.  Our team of specialists are led by our Investigations Director, Jack Roberts, who has been in the field for over 25 years.

Alternatively, you can visit our contact page and get in touch via our contact form or email.

Don't Go Just Yet!

We are the highest rated private detective firm in the UK, trading  for over 29 years. Your confidentiality is prerequisite with all we do and your case will be handled with the utmost care. Ask us anything and we will be happy to assist, with no obligation to proceed at all.