Ratko Jolic, director of Protecta MCI – Why do foreign companies most often hire detective agencies in Serbia?
Protecta MCI operates within PROTECTA Group, one of the biggest integrated security service groups in the Balkans. The group employs more than 600 workers in the field of security and specializes in corporate security and protection of business.
– Protecta MCI is the first licensed company for detective activities in Serbia, and the number of licensed detectives and the volume of work places it among the biggest private intelligence/detective agencies in the Balkans. It is a member of the Serbian Association of Detectives and numerous international professional associations. It is also a member of the American Chamber of Commerce – Ratko Jolic, the director of the Protecta MCI detective agency and a professional with years of experience in state and private security, says for eKapija.
eKapija: Since when has Protecta MCI operated in Serbia?
– The beginning of Protecta MCI's operations in fact date back to 2001, when the Detective Agency Protecta was registered as one of the first modern detective agencies in Serbia. In these 18 years, we have acquired considerable experience, educated numerous professionals and achieved many successes. In expanding its scope of operations, the agency has dealt with various specific requests by clients, to which traditional methods couldn't be adequately applied. It was these market demands and an increasingly intensive cooperation with foreign clients that resulted in the founding of Protecta MCI, whose primary task is to provide corporate security services.
In addition to licensed detectives, the agency also hires experts of other profiles, primarily those with forensics as their main profession. Protecta MCI is also the biggest polygraph testing center, and our team, in addition to polygraph specialists with years of experience in security structures, also includes highly trained psychologists.
eKapija: Which services do you provide?
– From day one, Protecta specializes in providing corporate security services, in the sense of all-encompassing protection of business entities. This is a complex task and a challenge for a professional agency which aims to reduce security risks to a minimum.
The demands of the market of private security mean that Protecta MCI also does other jobs envisaged in the Law on Detective Activities. This primarily pertains to a wide range of specialized security and research services modified to address the specific needs and demands of each client, which makes us unique in the market.
The detectives of Protecta MCI also carry out activities which pertain to checking the success rate of an individual in doing a certain job, checking job candidates (with their written consent), detecting and solving criminal acts which are processed in private lawsuits, documenting violations of work obligations or work discipline and abusing sick leaves.
Protecta MCI is the only agency in the Balkans capable of verifying the contents of a written statement based on a psychological-linguistic analysis by applying the S.C.AN method. This enables us to identify persons who have been involved in the events we examine based on their written statements. This technique is successfully applied in the detection of lying in affairs concerning detective activities, corporate security and crime investigation.
eKapija: You specialize exclusively in corporate security services. Tell us more about it.
– Protecting a business from potential malicious activities of external or internal subjects is one of the priorities for companies nowadays. A successfully and efficiently organized system of corporate security protects a business from risk, forms a basis for making important business decisions, guarantees a successful examination of current or potential business partners and prevents the leaking of information.
Furthermore, this also includes checking the credit rating of business entities whose material and financial state you are interested in because you are doing business with them or intend to in the upcoming period. Detective reports provide all the relevant data on the operations and the material status of the company you are interested in.
The detection of fraud, internal theft, revealing trade secrets, are also some of the important aspects of corporate security. In addition to the usual property theft (money, inventory, fuel, building materials), detectives are trained to directly investigate frauds by business partners, bribery, unauthorized contacting of the competition and the revealing of trade secrets, to detect the culprits and provide the client with valid proofs.
eKapija: Which services do clients request the most?
– So far, we have been hired for the aforementioned jobs mostly. We have carried out examinations of the success of the operations of business entities for both local and foreign clients. The interest of clients in these, according to us, very justified, examinations is increasing, as business people want a qualified and objectively documented overview of the operations of a certain company they plan to cooperate with.
Checking employees and job candidates is also an important segment of our work, as we can check the suitability of a certain person for a certain job quickly and reliably, along with the checking of all information and submitted documents in the employment process, including a thorough examination of all available sources, as well as looking into the reputation of the candidate and checking their references.
Also, requests pertaining to the psychological testing of candidates for permanent jobs are increasingly frequent. This entails the preparation of the candidate's psychological profile to the end of giving a clear recommendation about the best candidates for the given job position.
For the needs of insurance companies, we carry out checks in cases of suspected fraud, determine the authenticity of the documentation and so on.
We have already said that polygraph testing is also very important, as it allows clients to check the facts and determine the truth by interrogating persons who are in any way involved in events which harm or can harm the company (detecting and examining corporate fraud, theft, clearing up suspicious activities of individuals and other potential wrongdoing).
Our most frequent clients are companies which have already suffered some damage and which are looking to examine the circumstances in a quick, efficient and reliable way. In addition to polygraph testing, the S.C.AN method is currently the most demanded one by companies, as it is economic and as it allows for a large number of people to be examined in a short period of time, whereby a smaller number of people are identified as potential culprits, who then need to be checked further. Also, lately, we have had increasingly more requests for preventive polygraph testing, which has proven to be a very efficient means of protection from potentially harmful events.
eKapija: How do you do a check on the people you examine? Which methods do you use?
– The detective agency Protecta MCI provides a wide range of corporate security services. Our aim is to protect the interests and operations of business entities and help them make decisions so that they would increase their profits or reduce their losses. We implement new, advanced lying detection and truth determining methods.
We are able to check the suitability of a certain person for specific job demands, along with checking all the information and the documents submitted in the employment process, including thorough research of all the available sources, as well as the examining of the reputation and the submitted references.
Furthermore, we provide an all-encompassing psychological assessment of the general and the specific skills and characteristics of the personality, depending on the company's needs and the targeted jobs. Psychological testing enables a quick and efficient candidate selection. Preparing the candidate's psychological profile through various methods, techniques and standardized psychological tests aims to give a clear recommendation as to the best candidates for the given position.
In the field of corporate security, polygraph testing is most frequently used for three purposes:
First, it is used if facts need to be checked and the truth needs to be determined by interrogating people who are in any way involved in events that harm or can harm the company, such as corporate fraud, theft, suspicious activities and other wrongdoing.
Second, if candidates are sought for very high positions, which require the company to invest a lot in the employee, one selection round is carried out through polygraph testing to check for potential criminal activities in the past, potential alcohol, drug or gambling problems, deliberate omission or falsification of information, involvement in spying or sabotage activities and others.
Finally, polygraph testing is also done for the purpose of prevention. A periodic check of employees with high security authorization or those given plenty of freedom in their work is the most efficient way of protecting a company.
What makes us unique in the market is that we have a team of experts specially trained for the application of several different methods of lying detection and determining the truth. For example, we can take written statements from a large number of employees in a quick and efficient way and, based on the psychological and linguistic analysis of their statements with the help of the S.C.AN method, we can determine the veracity of the statement and identify the persons who are in any way involved in the event. The method is the most used one everywhere in the world and is successfully implemented in the detection of lying in affairs concerning detective activities, corporate security and crime investigation.
In specific cases, in addition to polygraph testing, we can also offer the Brain Print and Eye-Tracker methods for the detection of lying and the determining of facts, which are based on registering the electric activity of the brain and monitoring the behavior and eye-movements of the subject.
eKapija: Which profiles do you employ and what characteristics does a candidate need to have in order to work in a detective agency?
– In addition to licenses and general requirements under the law, all employees at the Protecta MCI agency have years of work experience in the security structures of the Republic of Serbia. Also, the agency also includes young experts of various profiles (IT experts, psychologists...), and we are proud to emphasize that we also hire university professors, prominent experts with years of experience in theoretical and practical approach to safety, especially detective activities.
eKapija: What are your most frequent clients? Who hires detective agencies nowadays?
– 70% of our clients are foreign companies which are looking to protect their business, which are aware of risks and which check their job candidates, requiring the preparation of safety estimates and recommendations for improving the security of operations and so on. The remaining 30% are local companies with developed awareness of security.
eKapija: How many detective agencies are there in Serbia? Is it a profitable business today?
– At the moment, there are fewer than 20 detective agencies registered in Serbia. The requirements for founding a business entity for detective activities or entrepreneurial activities within detective activities are extremely strict and their fulfillment is under strict control of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
eKapija: What problems do you face in your work?
– The adoption of the New Law on Detective Activities in 2018 solved many uncertainties of the previous law. However, detectives in Serbia still face the traditional lack of trust, both by the public and by certain representatives of state organs. We remind that the work of private detectives is regulated by law, that the Ministry of Internal Affairs carries out regular inspections to make sure that all the relevant regulations are complied with and that the penalties for violations are drastic.
As for the clients, there may have once been a certain amount of apprehension when requesting a certain kind of service, but now a large number of companies have realized how important and useful these services are and the trust has increased. On the other hand, the clients sometimes have unrealistic expectations, believing we can do miracles, which is flattering, as it is based on positive experiences, but we can't do everything.
eKapija: What are your plans for the upcoming period?
– In addition to the general goals that each company has – expansion and increase of the scope of operations, we want to transfer the standards and procedures of safe operations to local companies as well, so that their operations would become secure and competitive. We follow the latest trends and invest a lot in education. For example, one of our licensed detectives is currently in the USA, where she is attending an education course on cyber security.