Friday, April 02, 2010

Surveillance Kit Essentials

When conducting a surveillance on an individual or location, it's not just a matter of jumping into your vehicle, parking up, and spending the next few hours peering through your binoculars.

Fine, sometimes it is exactly like that, but not without some prior planning and preparation.

I always have a bag in the car with my 'standard' surveillance tools but may add to them as required for a specific case.

This assumes that I am doing a static (at least for now) surveillance from my vehicle or nearby OP rather than performing a foot surveillance, for example.

Items in my kit include (in no particular order of importance):

  • Binoculars (10x50) - fairly much mandatory and also excellent for night-time viewing
  • City map book - just in case   
  • Digital voice recorder - all events are recorded for later transcription to log
  • Notebook - to jot additional notes to be included in log
  • Camouflage netting (2.5m sq.) - yes, sometimes I do hide in bushes. Don't ask!
  • Flashlight - I currently use a PentagonLight 85 lumen LED. Shame about the company.
  • Police scanner -  so I know if I have been burned by a nosy neighbour but soon to be useless as police move to digitally encrypted network
  • Night Vision Monocular - proves itself useful now and again
You may note that I have not mentioned a video camera and that is because private investigators here are prohibited from photographing or videoing anyone without their prior written consent. No shit. That law is about to change by the end of the year though, after 36 years.

Of course there are a couple of things I don't have in my bag that are a necessity, but that is because I carry them with me at all times anyway.

  • Watch - I have my trusty H3 traser which I have been optimistically informed won't give me cancer etc (although I do have an unexplained lump on my other wrist...) but at least I can tell the time reliably in total darkness.
  • Smartphone - I can now run certain web-based queries such as vehicle registrations etc without having to return to the office first, or carrying a laptop around with me. Very handy!
At the most basic level, the things you really only need would be binoculars, notebook, pen and watch.

Then there are other items which are not essential, but good to have:

  • Thermos - careful not to steam your windows on a cold night!
  • Empty bottle - for those times when you really have to go... I recently learned about this nifty product though
I'm always on the hunt for other useful items to add to my kit. Any things in particular you have in yours that I have not mentioned?

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