Concern has been raised by the unsavoury and unethical tactics being routinely used by both the private investigation firms instructed to gather the evidence, and those individuals tasked with the actual filming of the claimant.
Licensing of private investigators may be a sensible step but the legislation has yet to be forthcoming. The whole surveillance industry remains completely unregulated, and even the courts seem not to know what is and what is not expert evidence when it comes to the revelation of misconduct.
The Association of British Investigators currently states on its homepage:
‘There’s no denying, private investigation can be a minefield. The market is unregulated, and plagued by rogue operators. And that makes life difficult for everyone concerned.’
A widespread problem
Manipulation of film and documentation in potentially life changing cases may be taking place on an uncomfortably regular basis, and it is clear not only to me, but also it seems, the courts and The Association of British Investigators, that these tactics are not just being deployed by a few rogue operatives, but are rife throughout the industry – an industry that is at the very sharp end of determining the life prospects for those unfortunate enough to have suffered injury or negligence.
It is also apparent that much time and money is being spent arguing over this, and it seems to me that as it stands, insurers are instructing solicitors who then use counsel to present evidence to the courts, which are really not sure whether the evidence is expert or not. Are the surveillance operatives who gather the film experts?