How Do You Become A Civilian Investigator?


Revolution is a term that we use commonly, it means that a drastic and far-reaching change in ways of thinking and behaviour. The 21st century has seen many revolutions such as the LGBTQ community revolution, the recent protests against racism, etc. So, when we talk about revolutions, the criminal system has also faced many revolutions such as the change in the punishments of various offences, etc. Since the past few time, the roles of police has also increased in the world of crime. A policeman has a number of responsibilities and many functions to perform at the same time, it becomes extremely difficult for some officer to manage all the things at one time so in order to deal with this problem, various cities across the world have adopted a new system of civilian investigation.


The Police Reform Act 2002 f the UK Parliament first introduced the concept of the Civilian Investigator. The police of England and Wales thought of involving civilians for the police work and they also saw it as an important pluralizing strategy. A question also rises about the position of the civilian investigators, whether they are junior partners or equal partners to their other fellow investigators. Both the positions are basically to determine what is the proper authority and power of the civilian investigators. [1]

An investigator is a person who carries or conducts an inquiry of investigation. The term investigator is used in many instances like clinical investigator is a person who is an investigator involved in a clinical trial, a private investigator is a person who investigates the cases as a part of some contract and not working for government or local police, a principal investigator is a person who acts as a researcher in a research project, etc.

Civilian investigators have proved as an asset to many states across the whole world. Civilian investigators are type of investigating officers.[2] Various agencies across the world employ civilian investigators to investigate a wide range of incidents that include traffic accidents, crimes related to money, property as well as crime against persons.


Those candidates who want to become a civilian investigator shall hold a bachelors or an associate degree in criminal justice field, they should pass a drug test and they must have a clean background check, further they are required to complete the on-job-training and then they are appointed by the concerned authorities.[3]

Civilian investigators can be of a good use for the local authorities. The other types of investigators do not have to perform all the tasks and with the help of civilian investigators the work is divided and the workforce which eventually leads to efficiency in the system. Civilians can be hired and trained in a better and quick manner and also helps in cost-cutting. The persons hired for the role of civilian investigators have a specific job and thus it helps the system in various ways and especially with the increased productivity.

Civilian investigators are mainly associated with the entry, search and seizure as present in a case in various circumstances. They have powers to obtain and carry out search warrants, to seize the evidences, etc. As compared to other investigators the civilian investigators have certain less authority over cases like if we compare them to an investigating officer.[4]

Various countries across the world use this concept of civilian investigators, in India the term civilian investigators is not in much use but the term private investigator is used commonly. Private legal agencies in India are legal but as such no body is above them to govern its functions. These agencies are free to operate themselves and they also do not have much restrictions on them.

The criminal system as well as the investigation department in particular would evolve with time and the role of civilian investigators will carry certain importance in the near future. Civilian Investigators not only would prove to the benefit for the police department but will also be the new face of the system.

[1] Lindsey Rice, Civilian Investigators and the Blurred Boundaries of Police Detective Work, TAYLOR &FRNACIS ONLINE (June 14, 2020 3:45 PM),

[2]Civilian Law Enforcement, DISCOVER POLICING (June 14, 2020 4:49 PM),

[3]Civilian Law Enforcement, DISCOVER POLICING (June 14, 2020 8:34 PM),

[4]Civilian Investigators, WHAT DO THEY KNOW (June 14, 2020 8:45PM),

This Article Written by Nimish Mundra, Student of Institute of Law, Nirma University.

Also Read – Can A Police Investigation Be Based On A Photocopy Of Documents?

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