Commercial Surveillance

Commercial surveillance in business can at times, seem somewhat clandestine with many myths around the use of surveillance or the ‘monitoring’ of employees.

Can I monitor my staff is the most common question raised by employers.  In short the answer is ‘Yes’ providing the correct assessments have been completed and compliance with the Data Protection Act 1998 is met.

Is Monitoring my Staff Legal?Commercial Surveillance

The Information Commissioner’s Office states;

Employers have a right to protect themselves, their business and its assets.

There are however, rules to follow and within the commercial sector; these are the rules of the Data Protection Act 1998.  The Information Commissioner’s Office enforce the rules but should not be seen as the enemy, in fact they will offer good advice and guidance when required.

The ICO can be contacted on 0303 123 1113 (local rate) or 01625 545 745

What are my Responsibilities?

As an employer you are bound by the rules and laws of the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA).  You will assume the role of ‘Data Controller’ if you are instructing a private investigator to gather personal information on an employee. Using an endorsed professional investigator will help ensure you comply with your responsibilities.

If you fail as a Data Controller to conduct your own ‘due diligence’ and check the investigator you have chosen, is in fact; ‘legitimate’ and not simply a middleman subcontracting the work out to ‘unknowns’ who, may not conform to the stipulations of the DPA. You could end up in serious trouble if a data breach occurred or is reported. Conducting commercial surveillance should not be taken lightly.

‘Your responsibilities as Data Controller cannot be delegated’

Who else do I need to comply with?

As a private company you only need to comply with the DPA, however the following are seen as best practice to operate within;

Commercial Surveillance – Due Diligence

Covertly monitoring employees should NOT be taken lightly, Lateo Surveillance will provide an assessment to ensure you are fully compliant with the DPA prior to any surveillance commencing.

Points to Consider before instructing a Private Investigator

  • Data Protection – Check the ICO’s Register of Data Controllers before sharing any personal data.
  • Insurance – The investigator should hold the appropriate insurance to indemnify you in the event of negligence.

Questions to ask a Private Investigator

  • “Are you registered on the register of data controllers with the Information Commissioner’s Office?” 

The answer should be yes! If you have not checked ask for a copy of their certificate.

  • “What is your understanding of the Data Protection Act 1998?”

The Private Investigator should intimately understand their responsibilities and demonstrates compliance & competency.

  • “Do you hold insurance, who with and what levels of cover do you have?” 

Ask for a copy of their certificate, Confirm the company holds appropriate insurances such as Public Liability & Professional Indemnity.

  • “Are you a member of an ‘endorsed’ professional body?”

Such as The Association of British Investigators. (Ask to see confirmation)

  • “Will any part of my investigation be subcontracted?” 

(Ask for this in writing) Confirm they are not simply ‘middlemen’ who sub-contract out to ‘unknown’ unqualified operatives on insecure forum groups.  Read our blog Private Investigation – The Facts

  • “Are all personnel connected to the investigation of good character and free from criminal convictions?” 

(Ask for this in writing) Confirm its operators are of good character & free from criminal convictions (incase your information needs to be used in court)

  • “Do you have a code of conduct?”

(Ask for a copy) Ensure the company’s methodology is ethical, all information obtained is within the rule of law (clearly stated within a contract) this will protect ‘you’ in the event of a complaint.

  • “Will I receive a contract” 

The ICO states a contract should be in place as a minimum.

Lateo Surveillance will always assume shared responsibility as Data Controller whilst carrying out commercial surveillance giving you complete peace of mind. We ensure all procedures are followed & all paper work completed (correctly) so we all stay the right side of the law!

The principle investigator of Lateo Surveillance Ltd is a Full member of the Association of British Investigators (ABI) the only private investigation body, endorsed by the Law Society of England & Wales. Using a member of the ABI gives you assurance you have chosen a legitimate investigator who has been deemed competent in their abilities.

We have conducted commercial surveillance in connection with the following:

Director Fraud > General Fraud > Theft in the workplace > Absenteeism > Serious Breaches of Health & Safety > Misappropriation of funds > Misuse of company vehicles

Contact us for a completely free employers PDF guide.

For further information on Lateo Surveillance Ltd see our About us page.

More information can be found here Legal ClientsCommercial ClientsPrivate Clients

Please contact us via the website contact us page, you can email direct at or you can find us on social media Facebook Lateo Surveillance Twitter LateoSurv where you can private message us.  Alternatively, please call or text leaving a message and we can call you straight back : +44 (0) 797 4659 016 / +44 (0) 759 5021 683


The principal investigator of Lateo Surveillance Ltd is a Full member of the association of British Investigators