Ethics in Investigations

The work of a detective is sometimes extremely complicated. The investigator must face situations in which he discovers an infidelity, a fraudulent discharge or a person who does not make ends meet and has to look for a double job which inhibits the exercise of his profession with total legality and honesty. Because of these circumstances, the detective must ask himself the following question: What are the principles he must always keep in mind?

According to the Professional Association of Private Detectives of Spain (APDPE), the fundamental principles that should govern the professional practice of the Private Detective are the following:

1. Independence

The detective usually works alone or with a partner. External influences cannot affect the investigator since he/she must defend the interests of the client. The investigation must be always objective.

2. Honesty

The detective’s skills must be based on being truthful, loyal, and diligent in the performance of investigations. Honest justice in the investigation is a value that must be reflected in every act performed by the detective.

3. Dignity

The detective must act with honor. A detective must act with responsibility, seriousness, and respect for himself, as well as for others, without being humiliated or degraded, since, thanks to his work, the client obtains a benefit that belongs to him by legitimate right.

4. Client’s interest

In investigations, apart from the safety of the investigator, it is always the client’s interest that predominates. All the acts that are carried out are aimed at being able to meet the client’s interest. Occasionally, and due to the profession, the investigation often has unforeseen turns or events, so always, communication with the client must be fluid.

The relationship between investigator and client must be based on trust, since the detective will be investigating personal matters that will not only affect him but also his family, his work, and his environment.

5. Professional secrecy

The detective must keep the professional secrecy of all the investigations he is carrying out or has carried out. When a client contacts an investigator, it is because either he has a problem or an interest, in any case, being a private matter, the office or detective undertakes not to disclose the data of interest, such as the names of those involved, addresses or even the subject or object of the investigation.

6. Incompatibilities

The investigator always must respect the incompatibilities that may arise in the exercise of the profession. If, during an investigation, another client contacts the firm requesting his services, the detective must be able to decide if carrying out the two investigations at the same time will not generate difficulties or problems for any of the clients.

The detective will not be able to accept matters in which the investigated is or has been a client, colleague, or partner of the firm. Neither may he accept any investigation in which the professional secrecy of another client is compromised, or in which he is affected in any way.

7. Search for the truth

The detective must always act to find the truth. When hiring the services of an investigator, it is accepted that he/she may find any information that either benefits or harms the interested party. The principles are interrelated, that is, as we said before, the detective will be objective, so if the information he has collected is not of interest or does not benefit the client, the detective will not change the data obtained in the report, but the client, once he has the professional report, is free to present it or finally keep it for himself.

8. Truthfulness

The detective, in the exercise of his freedom of expression, may express the important features of the investigation as he sees fit, always respecting the rest of the principles, and may ratify it when necessary and always in a responsible manner.