What A Private Detective Cannot Do

What a Private Detective Cannot Do

A private investigator has certain privileges over common citizens. It is mainly because of the nature of their job that gives them an edge. A private detective can have access to public records and legal documents. It is because, during surveillance, they might need to do background checks and look for clues from records. But there are some restraints as well. A private detective is not equal to a police officer. A police officer will always have more authority of implementing the law. But, the two might work together in a criminal investigation case. 

Debunking Myths of a Private Investigator:

Every country has its own rules and limits for a Private Investigator. Because of investigation movies and seasons, some myths are prevailing about a PI’s power. It is one of the myths that a Private Detective can go beyond the law to promote justice. Private detectives/ investigators in Singapore are to abide by the law. If they break any rule, it can seriously damage their career. Let’s look into what a private detective cannot do in Singapore:

  • Practicing without License:

In Singapore, a private detective needs to meet certain standards to get a valid license. The license is authorized by Singapore Police Department. If a private investigator is caught without a license or an expired license, he can get in serious trouble. Firstly, it is illegal to practice without a license. A license is a private detective’s protection. It is legal proof and security of a Private investigator. Not having licensure will also decrease the chances of getting employed. If he wishes to work with well-known organizations like ace private investigation in Singapore, he will not be employed. 

  • Arresting a Suspect:

A private investigator in Singapore is not allowed to arrest a suspect. This is authorized only by the police force. If it is necessary, a private investigator should involve Singapore police. He should provide evidence about the suspect and arrest through the police for further investigation. 

  • Hacking Social Media Accounts:

We can find almost everyone on Social media platforms. Stalking on social media is common but illegal. Private Investigators might get some information by looking at the suspect’s social media profile. But hacking social media account to get facts is of the limits. It is unethical hacking. 

  • Trespassing property:

A private investigator in Singapore is not allowed to break into homes, private properties, cars, or buildings without consent. He should introduce himself through his license to the owner. Explain the need to look into the location for investigation purposes and take their consent. Even the police are not allowed to enter any property without a warrant. 

  • Photograph a subject through a window to a private home:

Taking pictures and filming is important to a PI for collecting proof. But a private investigator in Singapore is not allowed to take a picture into a private home. He is allowed to take pictures and film in public areas. If he suspects anything in a particular private home, he should get consent from the owner and go to that house for investigation. If the owner denies, he can get help from the police to proceed in a legal manner. 

  • Access protected information:

A private investigator is not allowed to access a person’s bank information, phone, and financial records. He can access only with legal consent or through a court order. 

  • Wiretapping:

It is illegal to wiretap a person’s private conversation over the phone. A private investigator is not allowed to wiretap phones, emails, and social media accounts. He can do so with one of the person’s consent. 

  • Place GPS Tracker:

A private investigator in Singapore is not allowed to place a GPS tracking device in someone’s car. Consent from the car’s owner is needed in doing so.

What a PI should do if he gets caught?

If the client’s private investigator is confronted by the suspect, PI should not reveal any personal information of the client. He is bound to protect his client’s identity. PI should be smart enough to make the suspect believe that he is not a PI. 

Consequences of Breaking PI Rules:

During PI training, rules are also taught to emerging PIs. A private detective in Singapore needs to plan his investigation strategy within his boundary. If he breaks the rules, there can be the following consequences:

  • Might Get Sued:

If a private detective is caught while invading personal property or harms anyone, he can get sued. He can take up the case to the court and present how the PI has broken the law and trespassed privacy. This can take away PI license and can be heavy on PI’s finances.

  • Career Damage: 

Once a PI receives a bad reputation, his employment chances get significantly lowered. Before hiring a PI, people look for reviews and years of experience. One bad case can take away a successful PI career. 


As it is said, “With great power comes great responsibility”. A private detective in Singapore can enjoy a fortunate career within the boundaries of the law. It is a respectable job that requires a lot of brainwork. But, breaking the rules can seriously damage a PI’s reputation and career for good. Every private investigator in Singapore should abide by the rules and laws. Almost every don’ts can become a yes with a person’s consent. Also, amendments can be made to the law. A Private detective should be able to keep up with the latest insight on legal matters. 


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