September 2021 Newsletter

Private Investigations during Covid levels?

Private Investigators are not, by right, essential workers, though many are engaged by clients who are. In those instances we will be working under the client’s essential work exemption. During level 4 we have been assisting banks to ensure safety of staff and clients and some other clients to keep their essential business running. All an essential business needs to do is provide the PI with a letter signed by a person in authority and state the investigator’s name and purpose of their journey. During the last lockdown, I applied via the MBIE website for exemption certificates for our staff engaged in essential work.

But, your typical PI investigation involving dishonesty would not pass the test as essential work, nor does process serving or insurance investigation. Though much of that work is continuing but by way of phone or video interviews.

Urgent matters do arise during lockdowns and we would be happy to discuss whether the case fits the required criteria.

Conflict Training

During these crazy times, individuals can be quick to fire up at staff. Over the past year, each week we have been delivering conflict training to a variety of enterprises, including even staff in a golf club. The training is a 45 minute practical session to educate staff on being able to identify just what makes people take out their frustrations at them and how to deflect and deal with it in a manner that maintains the peace and everyone’s safety. In a large organisation, we would be able to train a senior member to deliver the training in-house.

Busted Again

Recovering from a shoulder operation, I decided to write a book to let people understand the variety of work a PI performs. With one arm in a sling, in only a month I managed to pump out 77,000 words and then asked a professional editor to check it for me. The upshot was the public release of BUSTED in October last year. The book sold out three times and I was asked by the publishers to write another.

Click here for the link to a NZ herald article on BUSTED

BUSTED AGAIN is due to be released on 1 October, lockdowns permitting, and has a further series of intriguing cases told in my Scottish humour. My wife says it’s better than the first and I hope the readers enjoy reading the antics of a real professional PI – the Grey Man – who gets there in the end.

BUSTED and BUSTED AGAIN are available in all good bookshops.

More than ever to be aware PI’s are not all equal

In what has been called a bombshell decision, just over a year ago the PSPLA, (the PI licensing Authority) ruled that consultants offering workplace investigation services must hold a PI licence. Since then the focus has turned to other occupations, such as health and safety investigators and those holding themselves out as forensic accountants.

What this means for us conventional PI’s and, more importantly for a client, is the potential to be misled into believing that by virtue of holding a PI licence the individual has relevant skills when in fact they might hold only a very narrow window of expertise.

Since licensing was introduced in 1974, clients who approach a PI with a matter needing to be resolved were typically seeking an ex-copper. But now, anyone across a variety of occupations can hang the PI sign on their website and lets face it have you seen a website that does not claim to be “NZ’s leading PI”.

I cannot emphasise enough the importance of referrals and checking that the PI you approach has the relevant and current ability in the matter that needs fixing. It’s not a broken car we are dealing with and quite often from the very start it must be handled sensitively and correctly. Beware, beware, beware.

Read the PSPLA ruling here