• Connor

6 Needs To Be A Successful Covert Surveillance Operative

Hello everyone, and welcome to the official blog from CMD Investigations, I have been told on a number of occasions to write a blog as it will be a good way to interact with present and future customers. At first I was thinking, what do a write about? Will people even be interested? But here we are, my first official blog!

In today's blog, I’m going to talk about what I think are the 6 needs to become a successful covert surveillance operative. But to start with, I’m going to touch on who I am and the experiences I’ve gained over the years. So my name is Connor and I live in Manchester, I joined the Army straight from leaving school at the age of 16 and served for over 8 years before leaving and re-training to become a covert surveillance operative. During my time in the Army I was lucky enough to gain vast amounts of surveillance and counter surveillance experience in a number of hostile and stressful environments. I have deployed on operations and overseas exercises to more than 10 different countries and I loved every minute of it.

I have now carried the experiences I gained within the Army into a civilian environment, I have to say this has helped massively when I’ve been put into situations that have been stressful and time pressured and have allowed me to come out of the other side with professional results.

So lets dive into the six things I think you need to be a successful covert surveillance operative.

1.Qualifications/Experience: In my eyes this is vital, if you are going to hire someone to do a job that requires a number of attributes (these will be discussed later on) then you need them to be either highly qualified or at the very least have a number of years of experience. On the flip side, if you are wanting to become a covert surveillance operative, it is key that you either go and get yourself qualified with an industry recognised qualification (I hold the SFJ Awards Level 4 Advanced Award In Covert Surveillance Operations) or you build a network with people that will help you gain experience within this field before moving on and gaining your own clientele. Qualifications help you gain access to trusted associations which will help you gain experience and grow your company. Its also important to note that its recommended that you register as a data controller with the ICO and take out indemnity insurance.

2.Mindset: This is one of the many attributes you need to be a covert surveillance operative, each day is rarely the same, this can involve early mornings and late nights, and its important to know that the work doesn’t stop when the filming stops, when the filming stops you then have to travel back to your home or accommodation and begin the next steps which include, going through all the footage and writing detailed, professional reports for your clients. Having a good, positive mindset will aid you in producing top level results.

3.Situation Awareness: While serving in the the Army, we would be drilled into noticing the “absence of the normal, presence of the abnormal” this basically means that we would train our spider senses to notice when things just wasn’t right. This plays a big part in successful surveillance operations as you will be more likely to notice if the subject you’re following is beginning to notice you and your tactics all the way up to being able to notice if the subject has deployed there own counter surveillance teams.

4.Reliability: This can be looked at in a number of ways, but the main one is you need to be reliable to your clients and team mates. Lets start with being reliable to your clients, for a job to be successful and for you to produce the professional results you need, you will be relied upon to turn up to jobs on time with the correct equipment for that particular job, you will be relied upon to do the correct pre-surveillance reconnaissance to gain all the information about that particular subject and the area there located. Secondly, you need to be relied upon by your team mates, when working within a team. They will rely on you to remain focussed when in observation positions and follow locations, and give fast but accurate call outs as soon as things happen.

5.Equipment: This one differs from operative to operative, some operatives are qualified to fly drones, so they use drones as part of there arsenal, others offer services in unmanned surveillance so they are experts in hiding cameras to watch particular spots for prolonged periods but the vast majority of covert surveillance operatives carry at a bare minimum, some sort of camera that can record footage (Camcorder or a DLSR) and a covert filming device along with some form of communication.

6.Desire to learn: I think this is a given when entering any new industry, you need to have a desire to learn, especially if you want to elevate yourself as a successful covert surveillance operative, sometimes you have to just shut up and listen, as there are many people within this industry who have accumulated years worth of experience and are more than happy to offer a helping hand. Each situation will teach you a new lesson, and with how quickly times and routines change, so does the way we do our business. We need to stay one step ahead of our subjects and to do this, we need to be actively learning to these new times, one of the most recent ones is the way we do our business during the COVID-19 era.

That is it, and there we have it, my personal opinion on what it takes to be a successful covert surveillance operative. I hope you have enjoined the read, please stay tuned for further blogs coming. If you would like any subjects covering, please get in touch with me and I will be more than happy to help,


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