Surveillance can be an incredibly useful investigative tool for obtaining evidence, but needs to be carried out correctly, firstly to avoid detection and secondly to ensure that the privacy and human rights of the subject are taken into account. It is for this reason that Herdens plans all of its surveillance operations in detail to ensure that the surveillance conducted is reasonable, proportional and only conducted for as long as necessary.
Evidence collected can be provided in a mixture of observation logs, witness statements, still images, moving images and audio as required and appropriate to the task. If necessary, images can be date and time stamped.
There are a number of different approaches to conducting surveillance and the use of modern technology has substantially changed how surveillance is conducted in recent years, allowing the detail of evidence collected to be increased whilst the cost of the investigation is decreased.
Agents conducting mobile surveillance have to be highly skilled and adaptable. They are able to covertly operate in a variety of different environments without detection, utilising a number of different techniques to remain undercover.
Our agents are able to operate from vehicles, including cars and motorcycles, as well as on foot, seamlessly switching between the two.
Evidence can be collected using traditional still and video recording equipment as well covert body worn cameras.
Our specialist agents can also be deployed in an undercover role, potentially allowing them to penetrate deep into a situation, enabling them to discover information which would otherwise be inaccessible.
Due to the technical and potentially dangerous nature of this work we always ensure that when the decision to deploy an undercover agent is taken we make sure the right person for the task is selected and that they are fully briefed.
Manned static surveillance
Manned static surveillance can be conducted from a variety of different locations. The most common is from a surveillance vehicle, but a surveillance base can be established virtually anywhere with the right cover.
Unmanned static surveillance
The development of technology in recent years has brought great advances in the area of unmanned static surveillance. Cameras are now small enough that they can be concealed virtually anywhere and in any condition whilst being capable of providing high quality images accompanied by audio. Unmanned static surveillance is very cost effective compared to other forms of surveillance.
The latest technology which we are embracing at Herdens is the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV's) or Drones as they are more commonly, but incorrectly, called. These spies in the sky allow high quality images to be obtained from high above the target without suspicion and with minimal man power.
We have partnered with professionals who are the front line of UAV development and technology meaning that the equipment we have access to is cutting edge and includes features such as HD video and night vision.
Question & Answers
Is covert surveillance legal?
We consider that whatever happens in a public place or that is easily visible from a public place is effectively in the public domain and can therefore be documented. Having said that we are careful to ensure that any evidence we collect is proportional and necessary and does not unnecessarily and illegally breach the subject or any other individual's privacy or human rights. How we set up each operation is carefully planned and considerations of proportionality and who else might end up being recorded are always taken into account before an operation goes ahead.
Do you offer any guarantees?
Unfortunately it is virtually impossible to offer guarantees of success in respect of any investigation and this is particularly applicable to surveillance operations where we rely on the activities or otherwise of an individual. As with all of our investigations, we plan our operations carefully to optimise the chance of obtaining the required information for our clients. It should also be noted that sometimes no action is in itself a result for our client and may confirm that nothing untoward is happening.
Is surveillance expensive?
It is true that surveillance operations can be some of the more expensive operations we undertake, but the results from them can be very impressive and irrefutable as they document first hand things as they occur in real time. Wherever possible we try to agree a budget with clients in advance, but unexpected events such as movement of the subject could lead to increased costs, although we try to take these into account in the first instance. Where we use manned surveillance it is important for our clients to consider whether using multiple operatives, although more costly would be advantageous and prevent a potential loss of the subject whilst on the move or detection of the operative. It is usually better to run a single shorter, more efficient and reactive operation than return multiple times as on each occasion the risk of detection increases considerably.
How are you using technology to reduce costs?
We have embraced technology and one of the main ways this can reduce costs is through allowing us to conduct unmanned surveillance. Whilst a human operative requires food, drink and rest, not to mention can be hard to conceal, an unmanned unit is usually very small, easy concealed and can operate 24/7 for a long period of time without maintenance. In many cases an unmanned operation can be established for a whole week for less than the cost of a one day manned operation.