Tracing a childhood sweetheart? Or stalking the ex-wife to wreak revenge?


Obviously, the former is perfectly legitimate but, clearly, not the latter.


Well, it might not be quite so simple.


Stalking your ex to ruin her life is just weird and scary. But what about simply trying to get back in touch with your ex-girlfriend from 15 years ago?


What is the harm with catching up with someone you were in love with when you were both in the sixth form?


Unfortunately many broken relationships litter the landscape since the advent and proliferation of social media.


If you haven’t been in touch for all that time, why now? Perhaps there is a good reason she hasn’t called. Maybe she is married and has three kids. Maybe you are married but just can’t get her out of your head. Maybe she dumped you and you have “forgotten” the circumstances.

In the “stalker” scenario an ethical Private Investigator’s decision is easy. Don’t take the instruction! Maybe even find a way to warn the intended victim and/or deter the stalker.


The “childhood sweetheart” scenario needs to be a bit more nuanced.


No one wants to turn down lucrative employment. In any business saying “no” is really hard to do!


It is incumbent on investigators to approach an instruction to find any person with the utmost care.


One approach is to agree caveats at the outset of any non-commercial trace instruction. It should be agreed that when/if the investigator successfully traces the ex-girlfriend, he or she will tell the Traced Person that a client has paid to have them traced.

The investigator should ask the Traced Person if they are willing for their whereabouts and contact details to be given to the client.

If the Traced Person is willing for her details to be given to the client, great - everyone is happy.

If the Traced Person is not willing to give her details, she should be offered the client’s contact details and be left with the decision of whether or not to contact the client directly.

The client would then be told his contact details had been passed to his ex but he would not be told the Traced Person’s contact details. This should not bother an individual who respects the wishes of his ex. If it does bother him, then he might just be edging towards the “stalker” category.

If the ex-girlfriend does not want to be traced by the client, she probably has her own very good reasons.


There is the possibility that faced with this proviso, the client would not hire the Private Investigator in the first place. So be it.


An ethical Private Investigator knows that some instructions are best left alone!


Hyperion Investigations requires the private client to declare their understanding that caveats apply.


For a FREE copy of Hyperion Investigations’ Trace Pro Forma CLICK HERE.


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Michael “Mick” Meaney is an ex-Metropolitan Police Officer and the founder of Hyperion Investigations, an investigative company in Epping, Essex.


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