Who's a Detective?
Do you love reading detective novels and watching detective-based TV shows? Are you good at finding clues and piecing them together? Do you think you have it in you to be the next Sartaj Singh (from Sacred Games) or Sherlock Holmes? If yes, consider becoming a detective!
A detective is a professional who works on criminal cases. You will collect facts and evidence, analyse them, and then work on solving the case. Detectives go through a high level of training before they are qualified. You can avail of this training as a police officer, or as an agent with a law-enforcement agency.
As fascinating as the job sounds, you must also realise that you will find yourself in quite a few life-threatening situations from time to time. Think this is the career for you? Read on to know more about it.
What will you do?
You will be investigating all kinds of crimes such as murder, robbery, sexual assault, etc. It is important that you look at every aspect of the case, record evidence, and talk to witnesses and suspects for your investigations.
Example: In case of a murder, you will have to visit the place of the murder to collect evidence from the site. And speak to any witnesses who may have partly or wholely witnessed the crime.
An important part of your job will be to collect evidence such as hair, used tissue, weapons, clothes, bloodstains, etc., from the crime scene.
Example: A murder weapon found on the crime scene would most likely provide a clue – fingerprint, DNA, etc. – as to who the culprit is.
Interrogating persons of interest.
You will need to collect as much information as you can to solve the crime. One way to do this is by questioning people. You could speak to witnesses, ask them what they know, and interrogate those who appear as suspects from the evidence you’ve found.
Example: In the case of a murder, you will interrogate the victims family, people they met before they died and those who are deemed to be suspects – those who wanted to harm the person, those whom evidence has been found against, etc.
Verifying evidence and witness accounts.
You will find quite a few pieces of evidence, hear different stories from your witnesses and suspects. You must verify these to ensure you’re not being misled.
Example: If a suspect tells you they were at work at the time of the crime. You must ask around at their place of work to ensure they’re telling you the truth.
Attending court hearings.
As the detective on the case, you will have to attend hearings to present your findings to the judge. You will work closely with the public defender.
Example: If you’re working on a murder case, you will have to bring evidence to the court like the murder weapon, confessions, proof of the crime etc.
Take the Mentoria career assessment test, to find out how well-suited you are as a Detective.
Where will you work?
Most detectives work out of their headquarters, researching on cases, building evidence, etc. You would work with other detectives, tech experts, conduct interrogations, etc.
You will work at the scene of the crime where you will collect evidence, look for witnesses, and find other information to help solve the case.
On the field
Depending on the case you work on, you will be out in the field for research on crime, meeting witnesses, locating suspects, etc.
How do you get there?
What skills would you need?
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How do you make it to the top ranks?
Pursuing your career locally VS abroad
Usually, detective training does not require a specific degree but aspirants prefer to complete their graduation before they enrol into a private academy or a government institution. To prepare you for the role, a course in a relevant area such as criminal justice, law or police science is ideal and can even boost your resume. A one-year diploma in Criminology costs between INR 5,000 and INR 25,000 even for the best colleges. Over the years of your training, you could also choose to upgrade your skills with a postgraduate degree or specialised course. A degree in M. Sc. (Forensic Sciences) can cost between INR 20,000 to 2 lakhs while fees for Ph. D. in Criminology can go up to INR 50000. Some of the best colleges in India to pursue this career are the University Of Mysore in Karnataka, National Institute of Criminology, and Dr B R Ambedkar University in Agra.
If you wish to be a detective for the government, your best options are in India. You need the citizenship of a country to practice there. If you have spent a significant period of time in another country, you can also set up your own private practice there or work for a private detective organisation. Job opportunities are highest in countries like USA, UK, France, Germany, Switzerland, Australia, and New Zealand, where crime rates are on the rise. Just like in India, you do not need a specialised qualification to enrol in a course to become a trainee investigator. However, it is ideal to have a graduate or post-graduate degree in a related field like law, criminology, or forensics coupled with knowledge of the latest technology. Fees for a basic course can barely amount to INR 50000 even in the top colleges and universities. If you plan to start your own practice, you could also look into acquiring some business skills.
How much would you get paid?
Your salary would depend on where you're working, your post, your experience, etc. However, we van give you a fair idea of how much you would make.
What are your career options?
Legal investigators work with lawyers. From processing and serving legal papers to collecting evidence for cases and interviewing eye-witnesses and other possible leads, you would aid lawyers in many ways. You might also work on cases involving personal injury or bodily harm, civil law, and worker’s compensation. You will help lawyers prepare their cases for litigation. You can work privately, but most legal investigators work under the government.
Similar to a legal investigation, corporate investigation is related to matters dealing with corporates. You would conduct internal or external investigations of issues at the workplace. Companies might either hire you as an in-house employee or partner with your organisation. You would look into any kind of corporate fraud like embezzlement, financial theft, or intellectual property theft. Additionally, you could also handle matters like violence or sexual harassment at the workplace.
Insurance investigators deal with matters relating to insurance fraud. This covers areas like life insurance, home insurance, health insurance, auto insurance, and more. You would check for the truth behind the claims made, conduct background checks, collect information, take interviews of eye-witnesses and other leads, gather evidence, and review the records for more information. You could be hired privately or work on a contractual basis with insurance companies.
This is one of the more up-and-coming specialisations of investigation. Due to its nature of dealing with technology, financial investigating will be a coveted profession in the future. You could work with lawyers on matters of financial litigation like tax evasion, where you would conduct a thorough analysis of the financial records of individuals or organisations. Using your technological expertise, you will have to locate, trace, and find the flow of money from account to account in cases of money laundering, corruption, bribery or any kind of accounting fraud.
Computer forensic experts cover all of the above fields but their work is limited to the digital medium. This makes computer forensics one of the most lucrative careers right now. You will be responsible for gathering and scrutinising digital information that can be used by lawyers in a Court of Law. Your investigation could focus on an individual or an organisation, it could be personal, criminal, or corporate by nature. For organisations, you can help track information regarding employee fraud, examine employee records, or help recover lost information that could be used in financial litigation.
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