In the light of your search for a private detective to solve your problem, you may be reminded of the unethical behaviors concerning some Private Investigators that you may have heard from the mouth of friends, family or even the internet. So in this article I have decided to shed some light on the ethics and morality that is prevalent among private investigators in India and I hope to enlighten you dear reader about the different types of private investigators so that you may ultimately make a sound choice when it comes to choosing a professional investigator to solve your problem.
Remember – no one considers themselves unethical. What is unethical for you may be ethical for another person and vice versa. Even gangsters have a code of ethics that they follow and therefore it can be said that even Chota Rajan and Dawood Ibrahim are ethical human beings! Dispensing Personal justice by killing someone for breaking a rule may be ethical behaviour in Gangstaland whereas in normal society, using the legal system to bring someone to justice is considered ethical. Ethics are a code of conduct and morality and a system of moral rules and principles that govern appropriate behaviour. Ethics are imbibed by a human being in childhood and are usually taught by elders or the social circle one is brought up in. As one grows and matures, one’s ethics are shaped by exposure to different standards of behaviour by those around us. It is commendable to note that personal ethics can always be altered by a human being at any time in life. So someone who has grown up to know that giving and accepting bribes is wrong may suddenly decide that if by taking bribes he / she is able to earn extra money which can be put to good use, he / she may then justify his / her actions and thus consider taking bribes as acceptable behaviour even though society considers graft immoral and unethical.
We Do Not Break the Law – Ever!
Consider this – without ethics, civilization as we know it may crumble and disintegrate. The courtesy of treating other people the same way that you’d like to be treated yourself is the glue that binds civilization together. As private investigators, one of the earliest lessons that I learnt from my dad who was a renowned PI himself was that good ethical behaviour is important for longevity in any career. Knowing the parameters of one’s personal ethics is also of paramount importance. Before we face ethical dilemmas, we have to decide beforehand how one will deal with them. What does one do when it seems that the only way to record a video of our subject is to enter her property and then record her through a window? We have decided beforehand that we will not jeopardize the case by breaking a law. A good private investigator will wait for the subject to emerge out of the house or will find a way to bring the subject out of the house before filming him / her. All these ethical issues have been decided when we begun our careers so that we know where to draw the line. All interns and rookie investigators are also taught to toe the line when it comes to the law of the land. If the client makes an outrageous demand, we simply refuse the case. It’s easy as that!
We Return Unused Funds
We take an advance fee before commencing on any case. And it has often been the case that after the investigation is successfully completed we have used less money than we had originally envisioned. Under such circumstances, there are only two options before any businessman. Either return the unused funds / adjust it against the total bill amount or simply show additional expenses in which case the client will be none the wiser. Well, as far as we are concerned, unused monies are always returned to the client. If you think it doesn’t matter, we believe that it does matter because being untruthful goes against our code of ethics!
Some Bad Apple Behaviour of Private Investigators In India
The Unscrupulous Private Eye
As private investigators, most of our clients are people and organisations who are in highly vulnerable positions in life and come to us when they in the throes of extreme anxiety over some professional or personal matter. These people are obviously at their lowest ebb and taking advantage of their circumstances is despicable behaviour according to us. But when unscrupulous private investigators take advance payments from clients and then refuse to commit to the services that they have pledged, it is criminal behaviour and one which gives a bad name to our profession.
Unscrupulous Private Detectives have been known to accept infidelity cases from clients and then film or shoot pictures of evidence proving the client’s wife guilty and instead of giving that evidence to the client, the investigator simply contacts the client’s wife and sells her the evidence at a huge cost and then gives a clean chit to the client about his wife’s behaviour! In this way, the PI not only gets the original fee decided upon by the client but also gets a huge payment from the wife who does not want proof of her illicit adventures to fall in the hands of her husband! The con private eye has taken the decision out of the hands of the court and has himself determined the outcome of the case! This is simply a despicable act that we condone to the fullest. It reflects a crushing lack of morality and zero concern for others. Avoid such fraudsters like the plague. A word of advice to avoid being conned: Before assigning a case to any private investigator, ask for two references from the investigator and speak to them on the phone and if possible meet them to know whether the private detective has a reputation and is a professional and whether he / she has clients who can vouch for his / her credibility and quality of service.
The Brash and Aggressive Private Detective
This type of Private Investigator (and we know some of these characters ourselves!) considers themselves as real life avatars of the private detectives romanticized in films and novels! He carries weapons upon him and will not shy from showing his clients that he carries a gun! These types will also rough up suspects to gather classified information and will talk endlessly about his reach and power into the highest echelons of the government and will even try to prove his knowledge of the legal process which in reality he knows nothing about! This guy will also wear outlandish costumes such as a hat, trenchcoat (in Indian weather!), garish clothes, gold chains, rings, amulets and of course the interiors of his office will also be equally garish and situated in a non descript and sidey location. Avoid this guy. He is funny and more importantly he is bluffing his way through life. He can only get you into more trouble than you are currently in!
The Cheapo Private Investigator
The cheapo private investigator is generally out to fool the client and make a fast buck for himself. This type of hustler will inflate the expenses once he has locked in a client by saying that he did not expect new problems and unforeseeable circumstances and will thus have to pay extra. The client who has already paid a fair amount of money finds himself between a rock and a hard place and usually pays up the extra bills. Cases are usually dragged on and on with only bits of information that is passed on to the client at regular intervals and more payment sought. When the money stops, these scumbags will usually move on, leaving the client stuck with no real answers despite a ton of cash paid up. Because of the sensitive nature of the case, the client has no option but to let it go.
The Mousey Private Investigator
This type of PI is the opposite of the Brash and Aggressive type. He is scared of everything and does not make much headway in cases because he is afraid offending suspects and witnesses. Forever afraid of being burned (discovered), this mousey detective’s fear of being discovered is itself a dead giveaway and alerts himself to subjects under surveillance thus creating the very circumstances that he fears! These types of investigators will often try to disguise themselves with wigs, moustaches, hats etc. But due to a lack of expertise in the art of disguise this type of private investigator fails miserably in his job.
The Amateur Private Detective
This kind of private detective is overconfident and thinks that she has a natural talent and aptitude for private investigation and does not need any further training in life. She will devour books on mystery and intrigue and will claim to know the ending long before she has reaches the end! She claims to have solved case regarding her family life such as following her husband in the past and caught him cheating. This and a few other escapades in the past makes her assume that she has all the trappings of a success PI. Nothing could be further from the truth. Truth of the matter is that these kind of amateurs who think that they have become Private Investigators without gathering the necessary training and experience give a bad name to the profession.
The Unprofessional & Lazy Investigator
This type of private investigator will defraud the client by delivering sub standard work. According to us, delivering service that is anything short of the best that one can do amounts to fraud. This kind of private detective is forever looking for shortcut approaches to work – anything that takes away the drudgery and boring work that professional private detectives are called upon to do. This good-for-nothing private detective will get bored on surveillance missions and will leave too soon. In other circumstances he / she might decide that surveillance is usually a good time to do some shopping or gallivanting during which time the suspect has left the scene and the investigator has lost her chance to get evidence. This inept and unprofessional investigator is often prey to vices like alcohol and drug addiction and does not believe in rigorous work and thus will not do all the legwork required to get the necessary evidences thus ensuring that the reports that are produced are not sufficient in court. This investigator may be well trained but laziness, bad habits and lack of hard work and effort ruins not only his own career but also the lives of others.
The Spymaster 007
The Spymaster thinks he is James Bond or Sherlock Holmes incarnated! An overactive and hallucinatory mind are trademark characteristics of these caricature personalities. This type of private detective will try to uncover conspiracies and hidden agendas in almost every situation encountered. This kind of person is in love with the romanticized idea of a private investigator but will shirk from doing the day-to-day work that goes with the territory. This kind of private detective desires a glamorous and exciting lifestyle comprised of wine, women and exotic trips a la James Bond movies. In other words, this type of person lives in a fantasy world and can even be described as pshychotic. Clients are easily fooled by his bs talk and tales of his exploits and the reports that he produces for clients and courts are nothing short of fairy tales! It is easy to spot this guy by one look at his website. If you see the stereotypical images of felt hats, binoculars, guns, foreigners in trenchcoats and flowery language you can rest assured that you are dealing with such a character! If you love the romantic idea of such a person working on your case, by all means go for it. But dont say later that we didnt warn you!
Amit Sen is the founding partner of Alliance One – who are among the best private detective agencies in Mumbai specializing in providing thorough background marriage check services in Mumbai among other private and corporate investigation services. Amit is also a trained pilot and an aviator and likes to remain grounded on the days when he is not flying high.