Surveillance and Investigations – Private Investigations

Surveillance and Investigations – Private Investigations

When the conversation turns to private investigators or PI’s, you could be excused for imaging Perry Mason or Hercule Poirot and even the modern-day Benoit Blanc, depending on which side of the pond you are located. For me I think of Dire Straits and their Private Investigations track, but that’s just me and my music taste.

The reality is the private investigator’s role is hardly riveting edge of the seat viewing, even if the skill sets required to do the job are significant. The three most predominant foundations are planning, contingency and patience. Know the brief and customer expectations; knowing exactly what is expected of you, having a plan to change or alter on the fly and finally the patience to stay alert and focused during the assignments. The actual job skills which are critical for success, may not exactly be describable as our secret sauce techniques, but even without disclosure here, all are wrapped in the three main foundation areas mentioned.

Here at Lions Gate our ‘Surveillance and Investigations Division’ headed by Steve Brown, draws on highly qualified and experienced resources, most often with a law enforcement public service background. But that is not the full extent of our team. Steve is a member of the Professional Investigators’ Association of British Columbia.

We have a diverse resource pool, which includes a mix of genders, ages, appearances, and backgrounds, as befits a covert role, and deployment backdrop. We get our resource pool up to the required skill levels, by attaching ex law enforcement mentors to them, with optimal field experience, with top quality on the job training, the outcome.

Lions Gate has surveillance teams that can deploy singly or with multiple operatives. We can use static or mobile surveillance techniques dependent on the brief. The brief will determine whether overt or covert is appropriate, or perhaps a combination of the two in certain situations. We use both video and still photography, and our team includes a video processing and report development specialist, who receives written reports, videos, and photographs from field operatives and to further the investigation process. This invaluable team member ensures necessary visual and documentary evidence, is to the standard required to meet client needs, and to withstand legal scrutiny in litigation support. We can deploy on undercover operations and provide counter surveillance services.

The team also has administrative support to manage capacity, a massive value add for the surveillance and investigation division under the larger Lions Gate Risk Management Group umbrella, which is itself a subsidiary of the Scarlet Security and Risk Group. We have strength in depth.

All of our operatives are BC Security Industry Licensed and undergo two thousand hours of training as ‘under supervision’ investigators before they qualify for an unrestricted investigator’s license. A PI cannot work directly for a client, they need to work for a private investigation firm licensed by the registrar. For insurance, Lions Gate has commercial general liability coverage as well as errors and omissions.

If you are looking for Private Investigation services, vet the companies you feel fit your needs by creating a checklist. All the information you need to do so is contained in this article. Not all companies purporting to conduct private investigations or surveillance have the pre-requisite boxes checked.

Private Investigators in Canada are bound by legislation and that includes – Private Security and Investigative Services Act (PSISA) – Federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) – Provincial Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) – Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA)

An excellent read for anyone looking to get a deeper understanding of surveillance techniques would do well to read Surveillance Zone – The Hidden World of Corporate Surveillance by author Ami Toben. He rightly writes that this is a complex work area within a complex industry and where operatives must be highly skilled and prepared for the unexpected. In the book, the author in ‘field surveillance operations’ is often part of a larger team, and clearly the client has deep pockets, so the surveillance options and techniques able to be employed are often greater.

In the Lions Gate world and from the outset and before taking on a surveillance or investigation task, we need to establish client needs ‘what does the client need?”, and client budget, “What is the available budget?”. The size of the team and tasking parameters will depend on that clarity, and customer expectation is managed in consequence.  We then have the duty of care to our operatives to satisfy so that we avoid exposing them to unnecessary risk in the field, so every deployment will be preceded by a risk assessment.

So, what do our teams actually do, and who do they do it for?

We conduct Corporate Investigations – Lions Gate investigators identify the facts and determine the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of a situation. Once these questions have been answered, an assessment of corporate or employee liability and risk is initiated. Processes and corrective actions are then implemented to manage risk and prevent recurrence. The Lions Gate team ensures a thorough investigative process that supports informed decision-making and, when required, contributes to the initiation or defence of the litigation process.

Lions Gate operates a significant insurance fraud investigation service that is dedicated to support insurance providers in Canada. We provide a large and experienced team of surveillance operators and investigators who are tasked to collect factual information and supporting evidence for our clients in defence of false and inflated insurance claims which are just some of the types of investigations we conduct in this category..

Lions Gate Risk Management Group has experienced resources that can be deployed to civil and domestic investigations. Our investigators work alone or as multi-person surveillance teams to fluidly adapt to the complexity of any situation. Background research provided by the Lions Gate Business Investigations and Intelligence team further enhances our investigative capabilities.

In addition to polygraph exams, our polygraph examiners are highly skilled interviewers, interrogators, and truth verification experts that practice a high level of due diligence. These exclusive resources can be deployed in isolation for a specific task or to support other lines of investigation.

We can look into the validity of claims for workplace injury, disability, personal injury, indeed any claims where there is any degree of suspicion. Using wider Lions Gate resources we can conduct intelligence operations, conduct background checks, and provide client crime prevention guidance.

Lions Gate has an extensive surveillance and investigations client list including public and private insurance providers, corporations, government, public service agencies, law firms, civil, domestic, and high-profile clients.

Whatever your surveillance and investigations needs, Steve has the knowledge, skills, and abilities to support you. Give him a call on 1.888.212.2026 or email at

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