Well, not quite, since as far back as the mind can go there has always been a need for spies, especially in the legendary battles of ancient Egypt, Sumeria, Rome, Germania and the city of legends, Babylon, in Persia.
Wherever wars have been fought or information needed to gain the upper hand in any situation, there have been those willing to risk life and limb for the information, either out of passion for a cause or a few pieces of silver to line their pockets.
Naturally, as far as we can cast our minds back, infidelity has existed, the difference between then and now is that a private investigator today is licensed to provide evidence, whereas back then it was more than likely that the procurer of the evidence would also become executioner!
Of course, none of these could be considered private investigators in the true sense of the word, but, information is information and sometimes the only way to get it back then was to spy!
Who were the first official private detectives?
The Bow Street Runners
Set up in 1749 The Bow Street Runners, under these auspices, were the first real professional police force ever established in London, which would, by 1839, ultimately give way to the Metropolitan Police of today.
While this isn’t what would be called a recognised private investigations firm, it was to be the beginning of a semblance of order in the field.
French (CID), the Sûreté Nationale
The French (CID), the Sûreté Nationale was founded in 1809 by the first recognised private investigator, Eugène François Vidocq. This same man had started on the wrong side of the law, doing everything that he would use later to investigate crimes of all types, based on his own experience as a criminal.
He’d made a deal with the head of the Criminal Department in Paris to become an informant in order to serve out the balance of a prison sentence he’d yet again escaped, and turned it into a true baddy gone good story!
Vidocq’s experience as a criminal turned him into one of the first true criminalists, making him the true father of Private Investigators. He also founded Le bureau des Renseignements (the office of information), which was both a detective agency and a private police force when needs be.
The Pinkerton’s National Detective Agency was founded by Alan Pinkerton. He was a Scotsman who immigrated to the US to in 1842, became a deputy sheriff and eventually the first police detective in Chicago in 1850.
When Pinkerton found out about a plot to assassinate Abraham Lincoln, he went on to found the beginnings of the US Secret Service during the Civil War.
Private Investigators today
Today, private investigators are professionals who are licensed to carry out their tradecraft according to a high standard of ethics, remaining well within the law in order to provide clients the confidence that they’re dealing with highly trained, competent professionals.
The body that regulates the industry in South Africa is the PSiRA, whose objective is to regulate the private security industry in the interests of the public and the industry itself.
The types of cases that private investigators undertake today cover a vast range of cases, from fraud and criminal investigations to business intelligence, infidelity to lie detector or voice stress analysis tests.
As registered, licenced private investigators, a firm such as King Investigators in South Africa is able to offer services that are versatile, giving this team the upper hand in that it can do more than one type of investigation for a client if needs be.
If you need the benefit of a trusted, honest private investigator in Johannesburg and Pretoria, contact King Investigators today for a confidential chat that will give you a starting point for the case you are wanting to pursue.