How to Become a Private Investigator in New Zealand
To become a licensed Private Investigator in New Zealand does not require investigative experience. The nation of NZ will issue you a New Zealand Private Investigator's license if you meet the basic requirements, have a PI sponsor/ employer, and take a government approved training course. When you get your New Zealand PI license, you'll need to know how to perform investigations fit for Private Investigations, such as surveillance. The government course will not teach this. After learning how to perform investigations, you can simply work as a Private Investigator in New Zealand. It is recommended that you first learn how to perform investigations relevant to the PI industry, such as surveillance for insurance fraud files. The fact that New Zealand does not have experience or surveillance education requirements does not mean that the quality of investigations is less in New Zealand than in other countries and states. In fact, due to poor state industry standards, having a PI license in general does not make you a qualified Investigator regardless of experience or education requirements. The poor industry standard come from the non-relevant experience most, if not all, states require of you to become a licensed Private Investigator. This non-relevant experience can be education degrees and non-PI investigative experience.
New Zealand Ministry of Justice
Private Security Personnel Licensing Authority
Private Investigator License Requirements
You must be 18yo or older.
You need a clean criminal and personal record.
You must be a New Zealand citizen.
You need to be employed by a NZ Private Investigator agency.
You will need to complete a government approved PI training course.
An industry standard flaw most countries and states have is regulations regarding law enforcement experience. Most states allow you to obtain a PI license if you have law enforcement experience. Some states also accept non-PI investigative experience to obtain a PI license. The problem with states requiring previous investigative experience is that there is no such thing as equivalent Private Investigator experience. Sure, a career in law enforcement will gain you some transferable skills to bring to the PI world. However, an investigative career outside of PI work will not provide you the skill-set to perform what we do the most: single person surveillance for insurance fraud investigations. Furthermore, PIs typically obtain all evidence via quality and litigious video. This is uncommon for most other investigative careers. Being a police officer will not make you a good PI the same way being a PI will not make you a good police officer.
Some countries and states also require you to take an approved PI licensing course, such as NZ. However, these courses/ tests typically focus on what laws you need to be aware of. This is of course useful, but new Private Investigators still need to learn how to perform investigations. The required tests/ courses do not focus on what we do most: single person mobile surveillance. Often, these tests/ courses do not not even mention single person mobile surveillance. If you are becoming a PI, you need at least 100 hours of surveillance experience to be able to perform safely and meet client's high standards.
Another requirement issue is the acceptance of post-secondary degrees. These degrees that are accepted for PI licensing are typically in the criminal justice field. However, some states accept any post-secondary degree. The issue is, having an educational degree will offer almost no help to you in the Private Investigation industry.
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Become a Great New Zealand PI
Yes, you can become a great New Zealand Private Investigator. How? Through Private Investigator education. Not through the short New Zealand government licensing course, but through at least 100hrs of practical Private Investigator education. This can be online Private Investigator training classes or in an in-class training environment. In order to become a successful New Zealand Private Investigator and meet Private Investigator requirements, you need to become educated on the complexities of the private investigation industry (this will also help you decide if you want to pursue the PI career) and how to set yourself up to become a successful Private Investigator. Secondly, you will need to become educated on how to perform investigations.
To learn the complexities of the New Zealand private investigation industry you will need to understand a few Private Investigator industry topics. Regional licensing requirements for Private Investigators will teach you what you need to obtain your New Zealand Private Investigator license. To help you decide if you want to enter the career of private investigation you, will have to learn the common misconceptions about the Private Investigation industry. Understanding the learning curve of a Private Investigator will set you up to become a successful PI.
Before entering the New Zealand PI industry, it is useful to know the challenges encountered as a Professional Private Investigator. This will also help you make career decisions. Then you need to learn what you will be doing as a Private Investigator. Learning the areas of specialization as a Professional Private Investigator and types of clients and corresponding file requirements will help with this. You will need to learn how New Zealand Investigators obtain assignments and hours of work to determine if this work environment is right for you.
If you are concerned about your ability to perform as a New Zealand Private Investigator, learning what factors will determine your aptitude as a Professional Private Investigator and what makes a “good” Professional Private Investigator will be essential. It is also important to know the physical and health requirements and health considerations. Then there is equipment. Learning about equipment needed in order to get started in a career as a Professional Private Investigator is a must.
Furthermore, you will need to educate yourself on communication devices and their role in private investigation. Lastly and most importantly, you must learn “The Investigative Mindset.” This will teach you how to think like a Private Investigator. After you learn these concepts, you will be well on your way to becoming a Private Investigator even without experience.
After learning the complexities of the New Zealand private investigation industry, you will need to develop practical skills in various areas. The most important areas are Desk Investigations, Pre-surveillance, surveillance, mobile vehicle surveillance, on-foot surveillance, obtaining evidence, and litigious reporting. To learn Desk Investigations, you will need to understand what is a Desk Investigation, Desk Investigation nomenclature, corroborated/ circumstantial evidence, The Evidence Document, The Desk Investigators Mindset, Google Basics for North America, and social media search basics for North America. Surveillance will be the largest subject to learn. Under this field you should learn about setting up a proper surveillance vehicle, surveillance spot checks, and surveillance set ups for various investigative operations.
As a New Zealand Private Investigator, you will spend the majority of your time performing investigations solo. This is why learning single person surveillance is crucial. Furthermore, you will occasionally work in surveillance teams, so you will need to learn how to perform surveillance with two or more surveillance operatives. New Zealand Private Investigators perform a lot of their surveillance from a surveillance vehicle, but also on foot, you will need to learn this also. The entire reason New Zealand Private Investigators are hired, is to obtain evidence. Obviously, learning how to obtain evidence, mostly in video form, is a must. As a New Zealand Private Investigator, you will need to obtain quality video that is litigious and that will satisfy your client. At the end of all this, you will need to learn how to create an investigative report that will most likely be used in litigation. After you learn all of this, you will have no trouble becoming a successful New Zealand Private Investigator.
It should be apparent now, why and how you can become a New Zealand Private Investigator. Yes, the government licensing course is necessary but it will not set you up for success as a Private Investigator. You will always need at least 100hrs of practical Private Investigator education. You will need to learn the PI industry, as well as how to perform. In fact, becoming a Private Investigator through proper education will set you up to become more successful than Investigators with many years of experience but who have not developed a strong foundation with proper Private Investigator education.
What You Need to Learn to Become a successful New Zealand PI
-Regional licensing requirements for New Zealand Professional Private Investigators
-Common misconceptions about the Private Investigation industry
-The learning curve of a Professional Private investigator
-Personal challenges encountered as a New Zealand Professional Private Investigator
-Areas of specialization as a New Zealand Professional Private Investigator
-Types of New Zealand clients and corresponding file requirements
-How New Zealand Investigators obtain assignments and hours of work
-What factors will determine your aptitude as a Professional Private Investigator
-What makes a “good” Professional Private Investigator?
-Physical health requirements and health considerations
-Equipment needed in order to get started in a career as a Professional Private Investigator
-Computers, tablets and peripherals
-NATO – Phonetic Alphabet
-The Investigative Mindset
What You Need to Learn to "Perform" New Zealand Investigations
1 -How Desk Investigations are performed
2 -Corroborated & circumstantial evidence
3 -What is evidence & how to structure it
4 -The Evidence Document
5 -The Investigative Mindset
6 -Google as an investigative tool
7 -Social media & investigative search basics for North America
8 -Daily Gear Protocol
9 -Data & evidence security
11 -Surveillance vehicle
12 -Surveillance set-up
13 -Pre-surveillance research
14 -Communication protocols
15 -Clients perspective
16 -Active mobile surveillance two or more investigators
17 -Skill vs, luck and circumstances
18 -Risk vs. reward
19 -Subject identification
20 -Understanding & managing Heat
21 -Traffic conditions
22 -Driving methods for different areas or environments
23 -Filming best practices
24 -Organizational necessities
25 -Transitioning to foot surveillance
26 -Transitioning back to a surveillance vehicle
27 -Mobile foot surveillance
29 -Required equipment
30 -Identifying the subject
31 -Clothing and props
32 -The physics or mechanics of foot surveillance
33 -Covert equipment & techniques
34 -On foot following techniques & best practices
35 -Transitioning in and out of buildings
36 -Video framing and quality
About the Author
Peter Sandru is an Instructor & Co-Founder of NDIL with over 11 years as a Professional Private Investigator. Peter has spent more than a decade conducting investigations and security operations throughout the world, primarily for corporations, law firms, and government agencies. Peter has assisted in the creation of numerous investigative & security training programs in various capacities.