Becoming a private investigator in Singapore |

Have What It Takes to Be a Private Investigator in Singapore?

If you’ve watched popular shows like Sherlock Holmes, it’ll be no surprise to you that the life of a private investigator in Singapore can certainly be intriguing: investigators dressed in inconspicuous coats sniffing out secrets from the lives of others, solving puzzling mysteries and finishing the afternoon with a hot cup of tea.

However, reality is often far more mundane than what is depicted in shows. If you’re someone who loves problem-solving and have an incredible amount of patience and resilience, you might just be the right person to be carving out a career as a PI in Singapore.

Main Requirements

Before you can begin working as a PI in Singapore, you are required by law to attain a PI license from the Singapore Police Force.

It is also a necessary requirement that the PI applying for the license is a Singaporean Citizen or Permanent Resident. Having a criminal record will impact the chances of getting your application approved.

Once you have successfully obtained a PI license, it is recommended that you complete the Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) “Perform Investigation Activities in Compliance with Legal Requirements (PI)” course to be better equipped to conduct surveillance competently like knowing the legal requirements from top to bottom as well as to be confident in preparing and submitting investigation reports and evidence in court.

Interpersonal skills and qualitiesInterpersonal skills

Interpersonal skills and qualities are usually a must when it comes to having what it takes to be a PI in Singapore, this includes requirements such as:

Good communication skills are important as this helps in your ability to communicate the necessary information surrounding the client’s circumstance in a clear and concise manner.

Being exceptionally observant and possess a keen eye for information so as to be aware of a few of these small but critical details that may be significant in an investigation that could either make or break the investigative case.

The PI has to possess truthfulness and have the ideal moral integrity required to be able to handle private and confidential information from the client.

Fundamental understanding of the law and it’s legal procedures is necessary to becoming an effective PI, without any understanding in the law, the PI could unknowingly do something illegal that could affect the chances of the client’s case. Even worse, the PI could be jailed for his actions.

Empathy and patience are necessary when introducing devastating findings that could impact the emotional well-being of the client. It is therefore important that the PI relaying the information is being mindful. In some instances, the clients may deny the information given, having to explain that the information gathered is truthful and irrefutable often takes time.

Courage and optimism are also important to have so that the PI is able to carry out the evaluation of an investigative case in court without appearing un-authoritative when aiding the client’s case.

Having most if not all of the aforementioned will mean the individual is ready in becoming a successful PI. The majority of these abilities and attributes come naturally and everything you need to do is assess yourself and decide if you’re fit for the task. But most importantly, an interest in and passion for investigative work is almost always a great indication that the PI will be able to face the challenges that come with this job endeavor and will be able to have the resilience to work on challenging investigative task.

Private Investigator training studentsEducation and Training

The next process to having what it takes to be a PI is training. This usually takes roughly 5 working days along with an assessment period to determine whether the PI-in-training is qualified for the job. Most of the training, however, happens during the job in hand.

Inexperienced and new PIs are assigned to successful and experienced PIs who take on the role of a mentor and guide the PI by showing how to handle common scenarios encountered during the job.

When it comes to having a degree and experience, in most cases, it is not a requirement that the PI has one but just like most of the job sector in Singapore, companies usually prefer someone with good credentials such as some form of experience in Criminology which helps in the chances of the individual getting hired.


Although rare, there are still a number of “traditional” PI agencies functioning in Singapore today, a new class of modern PIs is emerging and already dominates the industry with their modern usage of gizmos.

In the current tech-savvy era, being equipped with the proper knowledge on knowing how to use and handle technology such as computers and gadgets will drastically improve your overall productivity, this can be said the same for private investigators. A good private investigator will have plenty of gadgets and gizmos at his disposal.

With the increasing rise of cyber-crime activities every single day, being well-versed in the cyber-space will allow the PI to be able to protect himself or herself from getting confidential information of the client out to the public although unusual, it has happened before. It will also allow the PI to expand his or her investigative work not only offline but online to help the client investigate into frauds such as online dating and gambling sites.

Majority of what investigators do these days is surveillance, with the rapid advancement in technology, the forms of surveillance are expanding, one of the main being online activity. It’s important to note however that with such advancement, the law usually has a hard time keeping up so it is important that the PI makes sure what he or she is doing is legal.

To sum it all up, becoming a PI can be something rewarding when you have the driving passion and skill needed to succeed within the industry. Although how the private investigators operate will be largely determined by factors like the area or field the PI decide to practice in and additional prerequisites based on the company’s requirement. If you’re someone who takes the action and measure needed to achieve your goals, be prepared to indulge in the intriguing experience of a PI.

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