Investigative Services: Why Turn to a Private Company?


When we talk about an investigator, we usually think of a police officer—rarely does a private company resource come to mind. However, the term applies to numerous jobs outside the police force: for example, with insurance companies or private security firms.

When is private security a better option? Martin Côté, Vice President and Associate of Conflicts, Investigations and Background Checks at Gardium, explains.

Who Uses a Private Company’s Investigative Services?

Generally, these services assist businesses and the industrial sector. Investigation mandates target, among other things, a company’s management policies, regulations, and non-compliance protocols. That said, investigations into criminal activity are not excluded.

Investigative services are also offered to individuals, although they are rarer. This could be a situation related to a housing dispute between tenants and owners.

Why Go to a Private Company Instead of the Police?

In no case can a private investigation replace a police investigation. A choice must be made.

If the police are called in to conduct an investigation, the results will be submitted to the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions (DPCP), should the situation so require. A criminal complaint could then be retained and filed.

With a private company, the client chooses whether or not to file a complaint. There is no obligation to litigate. The client can apply their own disciplinary measures, for instance, if the results of an investigation incriminate one of their employees.

Once the evidence is gathered, the investigator will contact the client with the results of the investigation. The appropriate action to take with the employee will be at the client’s sole discretion.

In some cases, a formal complaint to the police department will be strongly recommended. For example, if the investigator discovers that a heinous crime involving physical security and/or sexual misconduct has been committed, in such a situation they are required to disclose it. The client will then be advised to make the best decision, which is to denounce the criminal act.

What Grounds Are Required to Initiate an Investigation?

Regardless of the type of investigation, there must be more grounds than mere suspicion or wild allegations. The evidence must be admissible in any type of court.

Let’s take the example of a client who wants to investigate the medical situation of one of their employees who is on sick leave. The mere fact that the employee was seen in a public place without crutches is not sufficient to determine that they are no longer injured and should be fit to return to work.

In all cases, the investigator will welcome a potential client’s reasons while reserving the right to accept or reject the investigation request. If the complaint does not fit within the parameters, the investigation will not proceed and the client will be advised on the options available to them. There is nothing to prevent the case from ultimately being accepted if better grounds are subsequently presented.

What Are the Different Kinds of Investigation?

There are numerous types of investigation: theft, fraud, identity theft, non-competition agreements, etc. It is even possible to take over certain aspects of a police investigation that have been completed, if no complaint has been filed or if the investigation is closed.

Unlike a police investigation, no private arrests are possible. Instead of interrogations, we conduct interviews where the respondent’s participation is free and voluntary. All of this is done with the employer’s cooperation. If a police investigation is in progress, the private investigator must take a step back so as not to hinder the work of the police.

What Are the Steps to Launching an Investigation?

The process is pretty much always the same, regardless of the type of investigation. It is comparable to a doctor’s consultation.

1. Gathering Information

The investigator asks a series of non-judgmental questions to learn more about the nature of the problem.

They may ask for surveillance camera footage, e-mail exchanges, or any other type of additional evidence.

2. Analysis

Once the information has been obtained, the investigator will try to understand the situation, make connections between the various elements, and ensure that they have all the necessary information.

At this point, the investigator may choose to pursue different leads.

3. Verification

The investigator will try to confirm their hypothesis, for example by accumulating more evidence or by asking the client new questions.

4. Diagnosis

If the problem is benign, the investigator will suggest changes related to the company’s habits, such as a review of internal procedures.

If it is more serious, additional methods of gathering evidence will be implemented, such as interviews, in-person or video surveillance.

5. The Investigation Report

This document details the entire process, compiles all the evidence and contains the findings of the investigation.

The investigator can also use this report to make recommendations to the client.

How has Gardium Developed This Expertise, and What Sets it Apart from Other Private Companies?

It’s not a prerequisite, but most of the investigators who work at Gardium are former police officers experienced in investigations. They have a good sense of smell, and are sensitive to both the legal and human aspects of the process. They follow legal trends and stay abreast of the laws and regulations that govern them. Excellent non-police investigators are also part of the team, and are equally efficient and rigorous.

Gardium stands out for its integrity and honesty. If a client’s investigation request does not meet the criteria, our investigators do not hesitate to point out what’s wrong and guide them toward better practices.

Each investigation is tailored to the client’s needs. Gardium’s investigators are creative and always propose an adapted, full-scale solution.

“James Bond-style missions only exist in the movies,” Martin Côté explains. “We offer our clients feasible investigations of reasonable duration.”

To learn more about Gardium’s expertise, visit our Investigations and Background Checks page or contact us!

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