Detective Career Information
What a Detective does
The field is prospective indeed. Business of private agencies is growing at a rate of about 12% a year. The growth is being fuelled by the increase in cut throat competition in the industry, pressure on the banks and financial institutions to increase rate of recovery of loans, the risk of employing a wrong person in a company and the loss of money due to this, increase in terrorism, dacoity, arson and other crimes in the modern society, and of course by the increase in social complexities.
But still, many like G.M.Ghosh of Calcutta based Blackboy Detective Agency Pvt.Ltd. feels that the real growth is yet to come. He feels that the business is not growing that fast because the fees charged by the agencies are high enough to keep many potential clients away.
But he is optimistic as he feels that there is an increasing awareness about the utility of detective services in the country and with the no. of agencies also on the rise, the fees are bound to be less as in other businesses. This will bring in more clients and thus the business will expand.
It should also be remembered that the private detective agencies are not the largest employers of detectives. There are large contingents of trained detectives in the Police, in the defence forces, in the central detective agencies like CBI, RAW, IB. Activities of people working in the State and Central Vigilance Commission are also similar to those of detectives. Although detectives are not directly recruited by any of the above governmental agency, jobs are there.
A detective’s job is investigation into a committed crime or any other fact to find out the truth behind it. A detective investigates and collects evidences to nab the doer or reveal the truth.
A detective generally works for the following types of cases:
• arson and fire investigation
• auto theft and fraud
• property and casualty claims
• life and accidental death claims
• criminal defence investigation
• medical malpractice investigation
• corporate loss prevention and internal theft investigation
• product liability defence investigation
• intellectual property rights investigation
• surveillance services
• missing persons inquiry
• background investigation or Character antecedent investigation (also called pre-employment verifications)
• financial investigation
• investigation of vendor / supplier fraud
• cheating, infringement of trade marks
• investigation of the cause of labor problems
• industrial espionage, pre-marriage verifications
• economic crime, homicide (or murder)
• dacoity and robbery, snatching
• forensic documentation
• narcotic crime etc.
Persons working for central intelligence services work to find evidences of anti national activities, terrorism, policies, strategies and plans of enemy countries, which are detrimental to national, regional or international interests. They work both inside the country and in the foreign countries.
Where can you do a course to be a detective:
1.You can do a correspondence course from the Canadian Academy of Private Investigation, #28, 7172 Coach Hill Road, S. W. Calgary, Albarta Canada, Canada T3H 1C8. Phone No. (403) 650 8684, e-mail: hornsbyj @ cadvision.com.
You can complete the course within a year. It costs about US $ 395 (Rs.17000/- approximately). The course is divided into 2 Units. Unit 1 teaches you about Investigative Services, Legislation & Regulations, Paper Source of Information, People Source of Information, Background Investigation etc.
Unit 2 teaches you about missing person investigation, Asset Services, Surveillance, Professional equipment, Court testimony, Security Consulting etc. At the end of each unit, you have to appear for a test (Postal or online) and acquire field experience.
Eligibility: A candidate must be a graduate and must be between 20-25 years of age as on the 1st January of the year of examination. The examination is conducted depending on the no. of vacancies. You can look into leading newspapers and Employment News for notification.
2.City & State Police Force – You can appear for the competitive examination for recruitment of Sub-Inspectors (SI). The examination generally consists of two papers – English and General Knowledge & Current Affairs. Those who qualify in the written examination are called for interview and physical endurance test.
Eligibility:You must be a graduate in the age group of 20-25 years. Your height must be at least 5 ft. 3 inch., with corresponding weight and chest must be 31 inch after expansion.This examination also is conducted if there are vacancies. Notification is published in the leading newspapers.
3.Central Bureau of Investigation – CBI recruits Sub-Inspectors through a combined competitive examination conducted by SSC. The examination scheme is like that of Intelligence Bureau, Ministry of Home Affairs.
Eligibility:You have to be a graduate. Your age should be between 20-27 years of age. Your height should be at least 165 cm (male) or 150 cm (female) with corresponding weight; chest should be 76 cm. with expansion of 5 cm.(no such requirement for females). This examination is generally conducted in the month of July. Notification is published in the leading newspapers and employment news. The examination is conducted by SSC (Staff Selection Commission)
4.Indian Police Service – Recruitment to IPS cadre is made through Indian Civil Services examination. This examination consists of two stages – Preliminary examination and Main examination. Preliminary examination is a written examination consisting of a paper on General Studies and an optional paper. Questions will be of objective type.
The Main examination consists of a paper of conventional type questions. One paper each on Indian Languages, English, and essay; two, paper on General Studies; 4 papers on 2 optional subjects (2 papers on each subject).
Eligibility: Graduate in any stream. Age should be between 21-30 years of age on 1st. August of the year of examination. The notification for Civil Services examination is published in November/December each year in all the leading newspapers in India. It is held once every year.The examination is conducted by UPSC, Dholpur House, New Delhi-110 011.
SOME POINTS ABOUT BEING A DETECTIVE:
Your job will have no fixed hours. You may have to work at 2 am at night or at 5 am in the morning. Your salary may not be that exciting (Unless you are in the IPS cadre or obtain reputation as a private detective) although your job will be.
Your job as a detective will be mostly outdoor based with a certain amount of risk involved. You should also be prepared to put in long hours while on a case. Anyway you will like bringing the culprits to book if you are the type. Of course you can earn a lot of money if you can establish your own agency.
As a detective, you may find opportunities in:
• Private detective agencies – in these agencies, you will generally start as a trainee investigator. Thereafter you grow as a junior investigator, senior investigator and then chief investigator.
• City Police and State Police Force – in these organizations, as a detective, you start as a Sub-Inspector through a competitive examination. But in these organizations, recruitment for Sub-Inspectors may not be earmarked for detective department. Some of the Sub-Inspectors recruited may be posted at the detective departments. Training is not essential but one may be trained at the Central Detective Training School at Gora Chand Road, Calcutta-700 014.
• Central Intelligence Services – in CBI, one enters as a Sub-Inspector through a competitive examination – conducted by UPSC. Then you are promoted to Inspector, DSP, SP, DIG subsequently. IG or Inspector General is the highest post in this cadre. Of course you can become the Chief-of-CBI.
• Intelligence Bureau (IB),Ministry of Home Affairs – in IB, you enter as an Assistant through a competitive examination and then promoted as a Deputy Field Officer, Field Officer and then to senior officer cadre.
• RAW (Research & Analytical Wing), the special intelligence agency of Government of India. Here the entry point might be a Deputy Field Officer and then the promotions are to Field Officer and subsequently to senior officer cadre. Officers from CBI and IB are also deputed to RAW.
• Indian Police Service: through Indian Civil Services examination, you can join Indian Police Services (IPS) and may be posted in Central Intelligence Services in superior posts like DSP, Assistant Commissioner etc. You may also be posted in State or City Police Services in their detective departments as Assistant Commissioner of Police.
• After 10-12 years in the Police force, Central Intelligence Services or in the Army, you can resign (or after your retirement or completion of Commission from the Army) and join private detective agencies with a lucrative salary.
• Army doesn’t recruit directly. Some of its Officers are posted in Intelligence wing.
SOME ENTRY ROUTES
• Intelligence Bureau, Ministry of Home Affairs – entry is through a two-stage examination.
• The Preliminary examination consists of questions on Reasoning ability, Arithmetic, Language and General Awareness. Questions are of objective type.
• The main examination consists of two papers – General English & Communication/Writing skill and Mathematics. Questions are of conventional type.
• Those, who come up to a specific standard in the written examination, are called for Personality Test. Candidates having working knowledge of computers and typing are preferred.
Abilities & Traits Required
• First of all, this is a profession for the very intelligent and sharp persons.
• As a detective, you should have a very inquisitive mind.
• As a detective, you must be skeptical and not take anything at face value.
• As a detective, you must be explorative and analytic to satisfy your urge for the truth.
• As a detective, you should have a tremendous presence of mind and be very tactful.
• As a detective, you should be able to handle any situation whatever adverse that might be.
• As a detective, you must be bold and adventurous.
• As a detective, you have to be well read about the society, economy, laws, science, and international affairs.
• And above all as a detective, you have to be physically fit.
As a detective, you should at least be a graduate in any stream.
To be in the Police force, you must be at least 160 cm. in height with corresponding weight, your chest should at least measure 78.8 cm. after expansion.
In Central Bureau of Investigation, your height should at least be 5 ft. 6 inch with corresponding weight and chest should measure at least 32 inch after expansion.
Private agencies may initially offer you payment on assignment basis. After you are tested for 3-4 months, you may be offered a salary of Rs.20000-30000/- plus other expenses.
In State or City Police Forces, your gross starting salary and other allowances will be around Rs.15000-25000/- per month. In Central Services, your gross starting salary and other allowance will be around Rs.20000-30000/- per month.
IPS Officers draw about Rs.15000-40000/- per month in the beginning.
Interview with a Detective
Detective Interview Rajni Pandit, Detective
Thirty-five year old detective Rajni Pandit has handled over 2000 cases, won dozens of awards and even authored a book on real-life cases, 'Face behind the Face.’ Read more about the first woman detective in India.
Girls generally choose to be doctors, interior decorators or fashion designers. How did you choose to be a detective? Actually right from my childhood days I was always interested in knowing the truth. Let me tell you how I actually got into it. My friend in college was heavily buncking her classes and I suspected her to be in bad company. So I started following her.
Then I met her father and explained the situation to them. After a few days of following her I realised that she was in a very messy situation with some boys who were also blackmailing her. When I informed her parents they were able to take her out of it. Till then, I didn't have the slightest inkling that I was acting like a detective.
Then, when did you turn into a profession? After my graduation in Arts from Ruparel College, Bombay, I worked in Johnson & Johnson for a while. But my heart was set on solving more cases. Then I got another case involving a reporter. Just a few days before her marriage to a teacher she got a mysterious letter saying the prospective groom was already married.
I then befriended this teacher to know more about his background and even went to his hometown. I realised that he was married with three kids and had left home to settle in Bombay. The reporter was so impressed with my job that she interviewed me for the paper she was writing for.
This was in April 1988. Then I was also interviewed on television as the first woman detective. This set the ball rolling and I started getting many more cases.
What kind of cases do you handle? Mostly I get cases from anxious parents to verify the educational background of grooms for marriages, verify his salary, date of birth, etc. I even do character verification for corporates who wish to hire people, or to know why they left their previous jobs.
My work also involves shadowing men whom their wives suspect of having clandestine affairs. Even young college students do a lot more than just studying. So parents seek my help to keep a tab on their kids. I also helped a company track the person who leaked confidential matter out of the office to the competitors. This was causing the company a lot of financial losses.
In most divorce cases the man tries to escape alimony saying he is a pauper. In such cases we find out his actual financial status so that the wife gets the best deal.
Tell us the most challenging case you have worked on. This one was the most riskiest I have ever handled. A woman had her husband killed and got a forged death certificate to verify that he actually died of a stroke. When her son suspected her she even got him killed. I was then called in by the relatives to find the truth behind the mysterious death of the father and son.
How did you go about solving the case? As there was absolutely no proof to nail her I had to stay as a maid in her house for almost 6 months. During this while I was able to gain the confidence of this woman and unearth all the secrets. They would speak in Malayalam of which I didn't understand a word. I would then record all their conversation on a recorder and ask a Malayali friend to interpret it for me.
After a couple of months I was able to trace the man who had helped this woman kill her husband and son. He used to visit her at home and they would often fight over money matters. It was later revealed that she was a smuggler and was also involved with the underworld.
Wasn't it risky dealing with a murderer? Very. In fact once while I was recording the conversation the cassette in the recorder ended it made a little noise. But I was prompt enough to drop something on the floor at the same time. So the noise from the recorder disappeared among the noise from the kitchen.
Do you think it's important for a detective to know martial arts like Judo or Karate? I don't think so. You'll have no time to use your martial art skills when the person in front of you is holding an AK 47.
So then what are the most valued skills for a detective? I would rate presence of mind as the top most. You need a really sharp brain to get you out of the messy situation that your job as a detective will land you.
Sometimes things are not as simple as following your target. In such cases you have to gain the confidence of the target and ferret the information without his knowledge. You have to be a smooth talker. Fluency in more than one language is a definite advantage here. Basically you have to be very tactful and courageous. Maintaining a low profile is one thing all private detectives have to be careful about.
Communication-gap spells disaster. Complete co-ordination among detectives, who generally work in teams of six to 10 people, is a must. It is virtually impossible for a single detective to solve a case on his own as often, culprits work in tandem with each other and it becomes very important to keep an eye on all of them at the same time.
Do you ever get caught by the police? Getting caught while snooping around is any sleuth's nightmare. Sometimes, our targets get suspicious and catch us. We are often roughened up and threatened for our lives.
The best thing to do in such situations is deny, beg, plead and continue pleading till you get way. Lie low for a few days and them spring back into action. Unfortunately most private detectives cannot even seek protection from the police as snooping around and stalking is illegal in the first place.
When training under us, detectives are taught what excuses to make up if handed over to the police. Acting innocent and frightened is one thing that always works.
Your job as a detective must sure be very strenuous. Yes it is. We have to be on our feet for hours together waiting for the target to step out of a restaurant or his residence. Now we are a team of eight members. Each person is allotted a specific task like follow-up, shadowing, etc.
What are the problems you face as a detective? The biggest problem is that this profession is not legalised. So we face a lot of hurdles when we have to seek help from the police. Verifying bank accounts is another daunting task. I wish the government did something about this issue. Detective agencies are the need of the hour.
Is it tough being a woman detective convincing people that you can deliver? On the contrary people find it easier to open up to a woman. They can trust me with their darkest secrets. Moreover I stay and work at the same place so I am available all the time.
- Nivedita Jayaram Pawar