Surveillance – Loss versus Compromise

No matter what a surveillance team do or who they are, a complete loss of their subject can and does happen. What can be managed is the risk of compromise to the team and the surveillance operation. So, for this blog I want to give my views on loss versus compromise which sounds extreme but is something that should be thought of in every aspect of the surveillance operation.

What is a Loss?

A loss is exactly what it says on the tin. You lose your subject and they’re gone without a trace. It can happen at any point whether you get held behind traffic and your subject slips through a large set of traffic lights or they head into the London Underground and they are lost in the tube.

These are terrible for the surveillance operation and can have a huge impact on your client if they have not been advised about this situation happening.

What is a Compromise

A compromise is whereby your cover as a surveillance agent is blown by either the subject or a third party (who is someone not associated to the private investigation).

In essence you have certain types.

  • Hard Compromise – The subject actively engages with you, usually with aggression and wanting answers
  • Soft Compromise – your subject spots you but does not engage with you. Usually they try to lose you
  • Third-Party Compromise – a person or group who is not involved sees something and notices you and calls you out. This is the most common and can be anyone who isn’t your subject including security staff, the police etc

The Negative Impact

Having a complete loss of your subject is utterly demoralising for the team and the client. A loss procedure is very useful but doesn’t always save your bacon.

A compromise is even worse in the fact it can be a very dangerous scenario for the team and the client. Especially in the case whereby it’s a cheating partner investigation and domestic violence is present.

Mobile Surveillance

Risks to Consider

The reason I put the two against each other is because when you are behind your subject it can be very easy to act erratically especially whilst driving. When your subject is approaching a large junction with lights that are just about to turn red and you speed forward or even go through just as they turn red that can be all that is needed to cause a compromise. You have to think fast whether a loss is more beneficial over a compromise.  The same as how close you get around areas like the home address. Sitting on their doorstep will get the best imagery but how long will you last after that?

The Choice of Which May Be Better

For me I will almost always take a loss over a compromise because a loss can be salvaged in the long run whereas once someone has been followed their suspicions will take a very long time to die off again and they know it is feasible.

The biggest factor has to be team safety and for that alone I will always be prepared to take a loss versus a compromise.

Thanks for reading I hope you like this blog post and if so please feel free to share far and wide. 

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