Saturday, August 15, 2009

Private Detectives in Serbia

By Miodrag Stosic

Belgrade, July 29, ( Serbia Today ) - A few weeks ago, Serbia hosted Rob Stewart, an actor who became widely famous for his role of Nick Slaughter in a popular serial ''Tropical heat''. His visit caused interest in private detectives, heroes of pulp-fiction novels, but of wide screen also. How does Serbian society treat this profession? Are there appropriate legal regulations? Can one live off this job? To these and numerous other questions, Serbia Today went for answers to Stevan Đokić, private detective from Belgrade.
Mister Đokić, what influenced your choice of profession? Was it Ilija Čvorović, Nick Slaughter, or something else?
STEVAN ĐOKIĆ: In general, both Ilija Čvorović and Nick Slaughter had some impact. However, I was mostly influenced by my previous working experience. Fo several years, I have been working in special police units. Simply, everything connected to security was close to me.
You are often present in media. Is it smart for someone in your profession to expose himself in public? Or, maybe an element of publicity also plays its role?
STEVAN ĐOKIĆ: I appear in media mostly because people like to hear stories about work of private detectives. Is it smart? Well, it has its good and bad side. The good side is that people who have problems, and the police cannot help them, always can ask us for help. My identity, of course, is not a secret. My job is exclusively coordination and control, while the detectives who are not exposed work in field. I would just add that, among detetives, there are people who have their standard jobs, normal life, while their engagement in agency brings them additional incomes.
How could you describe a job of a private detective in Serbia?
STEVAN ĐOKIĆ: We do everything that the police does: various investigations, searches, descovering perpetrators, solving crimes... We also have our team of lawyers, with whom we look for extenuating circumstances – lawyers in courts, us in the field. We are among the best in investigating adultery and checking faithfullness of marital partners. We've got a bodyguard service, as well as a classic protection service. We perform electronic espionage and counter-espionage, and system protection. We are also specialized in cults and drug addiction – pulling out from cults, helping drug addicts to clean themselves, and helping their families.
What kind of cases are the most common, and which cases are the most difficult for you?
STEVAN ĐOKIĆ: Most often, it happens to us that parents hire us to track their children, to see who they are in contact with, do they use drugs... We also engage much on discovering adultery and checking faithfullness of partners... There are cases of robberies, where police cannot do much, searching for missing persons... You wouldn't believe, but checking faithfullness is most difficult to perform.
Is it true that detective use many technological inovations?
STEVAN ĐOKIĆ: Well, it isn't quite true... at least here. Detectives abroad have extraordinary equipment. Here we still work with simple tools, but what is important is that it also works.
Do you work alone, or do you have an organization?
STEVAN ĐOKIĆ: We've got properly registrated agency at APR. We pay taxes on time. You cannot work without it. Our Professional Security obeys law on advertisment, and we also have our internet site
Cooperation with the police?
STEVAN ĐOKIĆ: It does exist, but is voluntarily based. It isn't regulated by law.
Cooperation with the detectives from neighboring countries?
STEVAN ĐOKIĆ: Of course, our agency has developed cooperation with many agencies all over the world. It often happens to us that when we work on some case abroad, we contact our colleagues in that country, and they help us. The same goes when they work here.
Are the operations and existance of detective agencies in Serbia regulated by law, and how?
STEVAN ĐOKIĆ: There is no law for years. We work under previous law which has been annuled.
What if you and the police work on the same case? Who has an advantage?
STEVAN ĐOKIĆ: It often happens that we and the police work on the same case. Sometimes our work is undercover, and the police doesn't have information about our investigation. But in most of cases we cooperate in an exchange of information. Sometimes they do us a favor in some cases, and we do them a favor in the others.
For the end, can you live off your job? What does a detective do when citizens do not have problems, if it is possible?
STEVAN ĐOKIĆ: Of course, I can... But not the same way as abroad, where detectives earn nice incomes. The job is very difficult and requires much sacrifice, but you can live decently. There are always some problems, and people can come to us any time.

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