In the American legal system, however, they can no longer be ignored, the private detective (and the private detective agency, which does pretty much the same thing).
The word private detective originated from the word ‘detective’, which is an indication for a detective in English-speaking countries. The fact that it is a private detective therefore means that he is a (private) detective as a citizen, so he is not a public servant. In the Netherlands (and probably in any other country) the private detective has a number of disadvantages, but also a number of advantages.
In this article it will become clear that the private detective is also being used in criminal law, in addition to civil law, and has a special position in relation to the ‘normal’ detective, policeman or detective.
Who is the private detective and what does he do?
The private detective is usually someone who has made a career move. Often it is a former policeman or a former soldier. Logical, because the skills that someone acquires as a policeman are often very useful for a private detective. Currently, there are around 400 companies in the Netherlands that deal with this, with a total of about 500 employees. The average private detective therefore only works.
The work he does is very extensive. It varies from spying on the spouse who would be odd to checking compliance with a non-competition clause. The clients also vary from private individuals to (large) companies. Incidentally, it is often not the most exciting work, sometimes it is hours to wait until someone leaves his home to follow him, sometimes it is just internet research to someone, just what the client wants.
Although a private detective is usually used in civil law to obtain, for example, evidence of the termination of an agreement, his findings are also used in criminal law. This is the case, for example, when he has investigated the theft by a cashier and he has found evidence. The company that was robbed will often file a declaration. This is becoming increasingly common, for example, an interested party can present proof of justice on a silver platter. Where many declarations are not investigated due to lack of manpower, this is an easy way for the judiciary to score and this type of declaration is often dealt with.
On the other hand, a private detective has disadvantages compared to the police and the judiciary. Thus he has no powers other than the powers of a normal citizen. Where the police and judiciary may (under certain conditions) penetrate houses, allow people to stand up and be allowed to detain outside of the act, the private detective may not. The private detective is also not allowed to listen to telephone conversations or search for suspects.
The private detective in civil law
As mentioned, a private law enforcement officer is often involved in investigating cases such as the theft of company property, misappropriation or non-compliance with a non-compete clause. It often concerns matters between employer and employee.
Although no ‘unlawfully obtained evidence’ provisions exist in civil law, the investigation of the private investigator should not go too far, because that may mean that the evidence is still not admitted in the courtroom. For example, it is not possible that certain fundamental rights are violated in order to collect evidence. This will be different for each individual case and it must be examined whether a breach of privacy is justified and proportionate.
According to the Supreme Court, the important thing is that the interests of the employer are justified and more important than the privacy interests of the employee. In the above case, it was judged that cameras could be secretly hung in case of employee theft, to see who the thief was. In the case of the systematic long-term monitoring of telephone, e-mail and internet use, the obtained proof was not admissible. Also evidence obtained by listening to telephone conversations without warning should not be used.
It is clear: the private detective must be very careful with collecting evidence in a civil case, because if he goes too far his proof can not be used.
The private detective in criminal law
This is something else in criminal law. The private detective (or his client) is not a party to the trial, but the Public Prosecutor (the prosecutor) continues the suspect.
In principle, the Public Prosecution Service can not infringe on privacy. The Public Prosecution Service may only listen in on telephone conversations, record conversations, invade houses, etc. If these conditions are not met, the Public Prosecution Service may be declared inadmissible or the proof may not be deemed permissible. Both are