From Nanny to Private Eye

From nanny to PRIVATE EYE

Alison Harris started her career in childcare but now runs a successful investigations business. She can help you with all sorts of problems – from tracking down missing persons to recovering money or property.

Sherlock Holmes had his pipe and Columbo had his trademark raincoat. But for real-life private investigator Alison Harris, who switches off from the day job by watching crime programmes on TV, a dog lead is nmuch more useful. ‘A client thought her husband was cheating on her, so I had to drive out to this rural location early one morning,’ she says. ‘I couldn’t keep driving past the house, as this would have looked really suspicious. But as I could see the “other woman” in the window I went to the house armed with a dog lead and a phone. I told the woman I had lost my dog, and while we were talking my phone was taking photographs of her. Job done! So always have a dog lead – you can get out of any situation with one.’

Alison is keen to dispel the common misconception that her job mirrors that of a TV show, with high-speed car chases, tailing unscrupulous villains and solving mysteries. ‘Like many private investigators today I loved growing up reading Agatha Christie stories and watching on-screen characters fight crime and injustice,’ she says. ‘I guess I’ve always been interested in psychology and crime. But the plain truth is that I don’t go running after people or phoning police contacts to get the inside track on someone or something. ‘That doesn’t happen. You have to do it all yourself – and at times that can be quite boring.

‘Today, I’m more likely to be working with solicitors and corporate organisations, helping to protect intellectual property, safeguarding against fraudulent activity and tracking online scams. I even help recover lost money and property – and often trace missing persons. It’s a sad fact that more than 250,000 people go missing in the UK every year, and this is an area I am now specialising in, working with heartbroken families desperate for answers and large employers who have been unsuccessful in tracking down former employees.

I’m also heavily involved with tracing people who often owe large amounts of money and have disappeared. ‘One case involved looking for the “missing” author of a popular series which was airing on Netflix. It took two weeks to trace the individual but the client was over the moon with my methodical approach to investigation.’

So how do you find a missing person? ‘It all starts with Facebook,’ says Alison. ‘Obviously I have a few more tried-andtrusted methods, but Facebook first – especially if the missing person is of a younger age. ‘However, you would be amazed at what you can uncover on the internet.

Without giving away too many secrets, there are certain ways that I can discover a shocking amount of information about a person. Even the deepest, most buried secrets can be found somewhere, it’s just a matter of knowing where to look and how to follow the trail.’

Alison started out in life as a nanny and it wasn’t until her late 40s that she began training to be a private investigator, successfully achieving qualifications in criminal psychology, forensic science, profiling, intermediate criminology and private investigation. Now aged 53, and a member of the UK Professional Investigators Network, Alison runs her own agency, Miss AM Investigations, which is based in Oxfordshire.

‘Qualifications are a must, but experience and professionalism are also very important,’ she says.

For further information please visit or email Alison directly at or call 07388 925001.