Out of obscurity: The contemporary private investigator in Australia

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14 Citations (Scopus)


The business of private investigation has grown significantly in the past two decades. No longer can private investigating be considered an obscure form of private policing. Yet, despite the recent growth of interest in private policing, little research has been conducted on the services provided by private investigators. This article presents the results of an analysis of 33 in-depth interviews with Australian private investigators in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. The article discusses their contemporary role in the context of providing justice, public policing and future regulatory challenges. The article extends the limited research on the services private investigators provide, including corporate fraud and financial investigations, risk advisory, and cyber and misconduct investigations. It identifies their backgrounds and education, and describes their clients. The study found that, contrary to expectations, to meet these new services, private investigators are now highly qualified academically and professionally. It was found that regulatory gaps have been created in the licensing of contemporary private investigators, and the use of private investigators allows clients to sidestep the justice system.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-296
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Police Science and Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jun 2020


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