Given the nature of private investigations, before hiring a private detective or engaging the services of a private investigation company, it is always important to consider the ethics behind the industry.
Unfortunately, the security and private investigations sector is heavily unregulated and as such, there are people out there who will happily take your money but won’t provide the service you need. So how do you know who to trust? Especially when confidentiality and a need to be discreet are often key.
The Association of British Investigators
If you want to know that the company or investigator you are using is credible, it is worth looking for the membership badge of the Association of British Investigators (ABI).
The ABI was formed in 1913, to give accountability in a profession with zero official licensing. Because of the damage being done to the security industry by rogue traders, they put together their own voluntary code of ethics and standards and encouraged reputable companies and investigators to sign up. Being a member of the organisation is now seen as a badge of quality, as all members must be thoroughly vetted and continually adhere to their code of ethics in order to stay registered.
The UK Professional Investigators Network (UKPIN) is an organisation that consists of a network of fully vetted private investigators and companies. Before a business can become a member, they are fully screened to ensure they are genuine trading private investigators.
Members are professional, highly experienced and have been checked they are fully equipped and have the specialist knowledge required to carry out investigations within their chosen field.
The Institute of Professional Investigators
Established in 1976, the Institute of Professional Investigators (IPI) is one of the most well-recognised authorities in the investigation sector. Like the ABI, they also have a code of ethics private investigators must adhere to, however they also examine their members across six key categories. These are safety, professionalism, accountability, teamwork, integrity, and innovation. This helps certify that all their members are fully trained and qualified to work in the private investigation industry.
World Association of Professional Investigators
The World Association of Professional Investigators (WAPI) is a professional, worldwide body that provides its members with educational facilities and resources to improve their investigation methods whilst adhering to a strict code of ethics.
All the above accreditations have one thing in common, members must abide by or have an ethics policy. This may seem odd to the average person, but as the industry has no regulation, it is vitally important for the integrity of the sector to have some form of rules and accountability. Because surveillance services can often require tracking, covert tracing and access to phone records and computer activity, it is imperative that private investigation firms operate in line with the law. Especially if you need actionable evidence.
Although it looks like legislation around private investigation will be instigated eventually, in the meantime, having a code of ethics can reassure clients of the veracity of a private investigator, but more importantly, being held to an ethics policy by accredited organisations means private investigators are answerable to someone other than themselves.
OpSpec Solutions: Our code of ethics
At OpSec Solutions, we provide you with complete transparency, confidence, and peace of mind. That is why we follow a strict code of ethics set by the Association of British Investigators.
The code, comprising Ten Principles, is sponsored by the Governing Council of the Association of British Investigators (ABI). It is a reflection of the way in which we should conduct our business according to rigorous ethical, fair, professional, and legal standards. We believe that all security companies and private investigators should hold themselves accountable and be honest and transparent with how they conduct their business and we pride ourselves on being all of the above.
Principle 1 – Responsibility and Accountability
We are personally responsible and accountable for our actions or omissions, as are our employees and other persons paid to assist an investigation. We will always ensure that the latter adhere to this Code of Ethics and Professional Standards.
Principle 2 – Honesty and Integrity
We strive to act with honesty, integrity and not compromise our position or that of any of our clients.
Principle 3 – Caution and Thoroughness
We will always verify the credentials of clients to ensure that they have lawful and moral reasons to request an investigation.
Principle 4 – Conflict of Interest
Any time we have a personal or conflicting interest in any matter in which we are involved, we shall disclose that interest, if it conflicts with the interests of our clients.
Principle 5 – Acting within the Law
We will always obey the law and refrain from carrying out any act that we know is unlawful, or contrary to this policy.
Principle 6 – Authority, Respect and Courtesy
We will never abuse our position and will respect the rights of all individuals. Our team will always act with self-control and tolerance, treating everyone with whom they come into contact, during the course of their activities, with respect, fairness, and courtesy.
Principle 7 – Equality
We act with fairness and impartiality. Our team will not discriminate unlawfully on the grounds of sex, race, colour, language, religion, or belief, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, disability, age, sexual orientation, property, birth, or other status.
Principle 8 – Confidentiality
We treat information with which we are entrusted during the course of business with respect and access or disclose it only for the purposes for which it is intended; attending to all instructions within the principles of the prevailing privacy legislation and in particular if controlling personal data to be notified with the Information Commissioner.
Principle 9 – General Conduct
We will always act in a professional manner. Our team will not behave in a manner which brings, or is likely to bring, discredit upon any of our clients, or act in a way that undermines or is likely to undermine confidence in any of our clients.
Principle 10 – Challenging and Reporting Improper Conduct
Our team is expected to challenge and when appropriate take action or report breaches of this code and the improper conduct of colleagues.
At OpSec Solutions, we make sure every member of our team is 100% committed to upholding the code of ethics above and not only that, but we are also members of WAPI, IPI and UKPIN, so that when you use our services you know we will act in both an ethical and legal manner. Our reputation is important to us and that is why we have worked hard to make sure we can provide the highest standard of service to get our clients the results they need.
We are also members of the Fraud Advisory Panel (FAP) which was launched in 1988 to help educate the general public on how to protect themselves against fraud. Although this is not necessarily an organisation most private investigators will be part of, thanks to the digital age, fraud is becoming more commonplace and so fraud investigations are now a regular issue faced by private investigators. Because of this, we believe it is important to help people with the resources needed to help combat fraud.
Hiring a private investigator can be a difficult experience for some and we want our clients to be able to trust us and feel comfortable about how we operate. Whether it’s a one-off job or ongoing security or surveillance, you can be rest assured that everything we do is discreet, fully confidential, and completely legal.
If you have any questions about the code of ethics we follow, we are always happy to talk. Give our team a call on 0844 6641125 to arrange a free consultation.