'There is no such thing as a typical working day with London House,' reveals Brian Hughes, co-founder of London House. 'When I get into the office in the morning I organise my day around the jobs that have come in - it can be anything from tracing someone or making enquires to gathering surveillance information. Once I've picked up my work I set off for the day, which can go on through the night. With this job you have to be prepared to work unusual hours.'
As a private investigation company London House offers a range of services to both private individuals and all types of businesses. The core of the business is to gather information and provide comprehensive reports to enable clients to make cost effective decisions and assist them with any appropriate actions. Although most of the work carried out by London House is completed within the UK, there have been occasions where investigations have meant following-up leads abroad.
Brian recalls a recent investigation where a London House team were tracing the owner of a Winnebago as the owner had failed to make payments on it, which lead the investigation team to Belgium. 'We initially started out making enquires in the UK, such as searching through public records and gathering information from the subject's address. We found out that the subject is a motocross biker and we got a rumour that he was due to take part in an event in Belgium. A team was sent out to Belgium and waited for the subject to finish his race and then followed him to the Winnebago and negotiated a settlement with him there.'
Although London House franchisees often come from a police or army background it is not essential for becoming a franchisee, as the company mainly looks to recruit people who are from a professional background. Despite this there are certain attributes needed to carry out the investigation work. Brian explains: 'To be successful at carrying out investigations you must have a lot of common sense, be open-minded and never assume anything. It is very different to being in, say, the police force as you don't have the some authority, instead you must be able to gather information from people by just talking to them. One of the main qualities we look for in potential franchisees is good people skills.'
Brian has over 15 years' experience as an investigator and is a member of the World Associates of Private Investigators. He uses his vast experience and knowledge to not only carry out his own investigations but also train new London House franchisees. Brian says: 'One of the aspects of my job that I enjoy the most is the reward I feel after I have trained a new franchisee and they are successful in carrying out their own investigations.'
Interview: Derin Ibrahim