How to Find UK Police Bugs in Your Home

May 16, 2021 - Reading time: 8 minutes

If you have recently been arrested as part of a police investigation, then you might find that your home and/or vehicle has been thoroughly searched by police officers, with the police spending several hours searching every nook and cranny in most cases.

British police officers

Finding yourself at the centre of a police investigation into serious crime can be intimidating and you should be mindful of potential tactics which can be used by the police in order to gather intelligence on you. One tactic which has come to light after many high-profile cases reported on in the media, is the police using bugs to gather intelligence.

Police bugs can come in many different forms; however, they typically consist of a microphone which can be used to listen in on your private conversations. The audio recordings from these bugs can be saved to the device itself and retrieved at later date, though it is more common for the device to broadcast its recordings out through a 4G/5G mobile network, where it can be remotely captured and recorded by the authorities.

In some cases the police may use the time spent conducting a search of a property to conceal or hide a bug. However, bugs can also be left more discreetly by entering your property without your knowledge, if this is deemed necessary. 

If you are suspected of a serious crime and the evidence against you is too weak to bring about a prosecution, then the police may decide to bug your property. Similarly, if you are subject of an investigation which involves the NCA (National Crime Agency, formally known as SOCA), HM Revenue and Customs, or security services, then you might find yourself become the target of an intrusive form of high-tech surveillance.

How to find UK police bugs

In spite of recent cutbacks, British police are still some of the most well-funded and technically advanced law enforcement agencies in the world. The UK police and security services have access to highly advanced bugs, including hidden microphones and cameras, with the evidence typically admissible in court trials. If you are recorded admitting to, or discussing a serious crime, then you may find yourself being found guilty of those allegations should they end up being dealt with in court.

In order to search for advanced police bugs, you will need advanced equipment which can be used to detect the presence of lenses (hidden cameras), and frequencies used to transmit data which is gathered by hidden microphones, cameras, or GPS trackers. Metal detectors can even be used in some cases to search for bugging devices inside objects which should not contain any metal components.

You may find many different 'de-bugging devices' available on the internet, with varying levels of quality. However, if you believe that you are going to find a sophisticated police bug using a cheap, Chinese gadget purchased over the internet, then think again.

Bug sweeping service

Learn more about our bug sweep service.

In order to locate high-tech bugging equipment, high-tech de-bugging equipment is usually required, along with a trained operator that has experience in locating bugs, and has knowledge about what to look for (and where to look) when it comes to devices which are usually planted by the British police.

Hidden microphones used by the police are typically very sensitive, and can pickup conversations which are held anywhere within an average sized home. If you believe that your property has been bugged, it is important that every room in your property is thoroughly searched, in order to make sure that you are fully protected.

If you require assistance to search for bugging devices inside your property or vehicle, then we can help. Our detectives have extensive experience in locating hidden microphones, cameras, and tracking devices which are typically used by the British police. If you suspect that someone might be spying on you, then hire a professional. We offer our bug sweeping service across all areas of the UK.

What do police bugs look like?

Governments and law enforcement agencies around the world have access to high-tech surveillance equipment which is a definite cut above technology available to members of the public. While hidden cameras/microphones available for anyone to purchase online are often adequate to deceive and record most people, the type of devices used by law enforcement will be far more concealed, technologically advanced, and harder to detect.

What does a police bug look like? Bugs are small and can be concealed into most common household items; depending on the usage they might appear to be a circuit board attached to a battery (if it is not wired into a power source), or a bug might appear as a sealed plastic unit with no identifying markers. Bugs can be concealed in television sets, smoke detectors, light fittings, electrical outlets, ornaments, or in any item which is big enough to accommodate the device. If the bug is concealed in an electric device such as a television, for example, then identifying it as a piece of surveillance equipment might prove  harder, as you will need to differentiate it from the device's normal circuitry.

Police bugs in your car

As well as bugging properties, a common tactic used by the police or other adversaries is to place bugging devices inside vehicles. When it comes to your car, there are typically two devices which you should be mindful of – they are both hidden microphones and tracking devices.

Hidden microphones are extremely small devices which can be fitted to a vehicle and record any conversations which are held inside the car or even conversations which occur nearby the vehicle in some cases.

Is your vehicle being tracked?

Tracking devices can allow law enforcement to monitor the whereabouts of a vehicle in real time, and to check locations it has visited along with its patterns of movement. Tracking devices can be easily attached to the exterior of vehicles within a matter of seconds and are very useful for police whilst conducting surveillance operations. No longer do police surveillance teams need to follow a vehicle around in order to monitor its whereabouts; they can simply place a tracker on the car which can be used to monitor its location 24 hours a day. Police grade trackers are equipped with batteries which last for several months in most cases.

It’s important to note that bugging devices and trackers are not only used by the police. We have seen examples of this technology being used by business rivals, private investigators, and disgruntled spouses, among many other different use cases.

How to stop bugs from reappearing in your home

After your property or vehicle has been professionally checked for bugging devices, you should take steps to prevent any bugs from reappearing in your property. Basic security measures such as CCTV cameras and a burglar alarm might help to thwart unauthorized attempts to bug your property; though if you are contending against skilled adversaries (including security services and domestic intelligence agencies), such measures are not likely to prove effective. If you believe that the threat is substantial then we would recommend carrying out full bug sweeps of your property on a regular basis.

If you suspect that an adversary may try to attach a tracking device to your car, then parking it in a locked garage would be an obvious solution; otherwise, a private/gated driveway which is covered by CCTV cameras might help to act as a deterrent. Though it should be noted that a tracking device can be fitted to most vehicles within a matter of seconds if the agent is experienced and knows what they’re doing. Taking steps to mitigate the threat of bugging devices should be a priority if you suspect that there is a credible threat against you.

UK private investigators

You are reading the PrivateInvestigators-UK blog — home to the UK's leading detective agency. Learn more about us by visiting our homepage