There are two types of surveillance. Conventional surveillance is a team of people conducting the surveillance and technical surveillance is where we utilise technical methods to conduct surveillance. Covert vehicle and asset tracking devices, covert audio devices and data retrieval from computers, printers, mobile telephones and such like.
Conventional surveillance is the most proactive means of tackling the majority of issues, especially when supported by technological methods. Placing a subject under surveillance means you then have control of that subject. You are not reliant on that technology which cannot make a decision ‘on the ground’. Tracking stolen products, gathering evidence of where it is and where it has been is useful, but you will not have a video recording of the offender(s) handling the product, see with whom they are associating and see the other quantities of stolen product.
An employee falsely absent from work who is either conducting daily chores or running a business in your company time will be observed and video evidence will be gathered with a conventional surveillance team. Covert tracking devices will show his vehicle on his driveway, but you will fail to gather evidence whilst he is working in another vehicle, mowing the lawn or walking to the shops.
During surveillance operations, issues arise and require an immediate decision to gather the best evidence at a crucial time and that requires a visual picture of events. Human resources are essential as you may only have one attempt to gather that crucial evidence.
Technical surveillance when utilised correctly provides valuable evidence and intelligence, often supporting conventional surveillance, or be used to direct conventional surveillance towards the ‘end goal’. Those who use technical methods must skilled and proficient in using or deploying them. Technical surveillance is an essential operational tool, but it cannot always replace the trained, skilled surveillance officer.