What are the Different Types of Surveillance Training?

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  • Written By: Tara Barnett
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 25 November 2019
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Surveillance training is usually targeted to specific professions or situations. While general surveillance skills are useful in all surveillance situations, use of certain technologies or strategies often requires additional training. There is surveillance training for specific professions as well, such as police surveillance training or security surveillance training. Finally, there is training indirectly related to surveillance, including training in reading faces or crowd movement patterns. Given the wide range of skills required to successfully and discreetly observe human beings, all types of training can be useful when building up a portfolio of surveillance skills.

One of the most common kinds of surveillance training is intended for law enforcement professionals. This training may be provided on the job or through a school. The most important benefit of this type of training is that it emphasizes the legal boundaries of surveillance to all students, decreasing the risk that a person's surveillance tactics will be illegal.


People who work privately in fields related to security or private investigations also often need surveillance training, although many of these professionals receive training during work in law enforcement. Special training for these fields often includes information specific to the situation. For instance, if a private investigator needs to watch a client's husband or wife, training related to following people in busy areas may be useful. Another example is surveillance training for casino security, where security must watch out for specific cheating techniques, learn to use video technology, and be aware of individuals while in a large crowd.

There are many different types of actual surveillance, and each type requires training. It is important to know how to watch people while in cars, on foot, in buildings, and all other types of locations. This often involves following people in order to monitor their actions. Also, understanding how to intercept communications can be a part of surveillance. Learning how to monitor the target's computer use is also highly valuable, although this is not legal in all cases.

Every surveillance professional has certain preferences in terms of equipment, but knowing how to use the basic recording devices used for surveillance is very important. Also, certain surveillance operations require cooperation between large groups, so training in leadership and strategy can be very important. Skills gained from studies of human behavior and psychology can be extremely beneficial when attempting to stay one step ahead of the subject being watched, as can a deep understanding of how people tend to move in urban environments. Surveillance is only partly about procedure, so training that teaches good intuition can be extremely helpful.


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