Detective’s ethic in the context of Common Minimum Standards issued by International Federation of Associations of Private Detectives



The authors – lawyers and licensed detectives – examine the topic of ethics in detective’s profession from theoretical and practical grounds. Although the authors are well positioned to delve into theoretical aspects of this topic, thanks to their strong academic background, the key input into the research is the practical experience they have gained while performing the profession; the profession they sadly acknowledge has some imperfections as well.


Based on their own experience and observations the starting point of their work is the study of detective’s profession ethos. The angle of their examination is different to a traditional approach presented in other’s publications available on the market. The authors, in an innovative and original way, claim that the detective’s ethos is a result of profession’s elitism and exclusivism. The profession’s ethos has to be examined in the light of legal grounds in the Polish law system, the Act of 6 July 2001 on detective services (O.J. 2002 No. 12, Item 110, as farther amended). An extensive analysis of the act, brought a conclusion, that detective’s profession is elite, although authors have noted that there are certain reservations on this thesis, however they have asserted that the profession is not exclusive, which is reflected in the instances of some ethic and moral violations, the topics they strictly separate.


The reason of the abovementioned shortcomings is not sufficiently stringent procedure of the profession’s recruitment, which is a consequence of an easier access to the detective’s license, granted by the Act of 13 June 2013 on deregulation of access to certain professions in Poland (O.J. 2013, Item 829), effective as of 1 January 2014. The authors call for restoration of previously existing restrictions with this regard. The authors notice as well that there is a politically-driven reluctance to empower the representatives of the private security sector, hindering the fulfilment of a social role the detectives play as the agents of public trust.

The authors however do not omit in their work the acknowledgement of a good condition of polish detective sector which one can see in the comparative cross-country international examination. They point out to the benefits and opportunities stemming from this condition, partly noticed by The Polish Association of Licensed Private Investigators – the representative body of detectives in Poland, which not only became a member of The International Federation of Associations of Private Detectives but also adopted the Code of Detective’s Ethics. The former is a unique opportunity to gain expertise from international community as well as to share its own experiences, perhaps become a European leader setting internationals standards and guidance for the detective profession; the latter, authors believe, should be perceived as the code of exemplary conduct, one which all detectives shall follow. It is worth to mention that the mentioned Code of Detective’s Ethics is unique in its own nature on the Polish market as there is no other code encompassing the topic of detective’s ethic.


Keywords: ethos, ethics, elitism, exclusivism, ethic code, detective, detective services, criminology, deregulation


Introduction (The General understaing of Ethos)


The wording of the subject of this publication obliges first to perform a semantic exegesis of the concept "ethos", after all, it is the relativity to the detective profession that determines the specific implications in the title sphere of the ethics of its performance.  Most intuitive attempts to decode the concept of ethos lead to the conclusion that it is a certain set of principles (values) and norms and patterns of conduct approved and adopted as one's own by a specific community. Such approach to intuition is confirmed by dictionary definitions, with certain ethical values resulting from the ethos [iii].


Adopting a somewhat simplified approach, it can be said that the ethos consists of two elements (or at least, in traditional terms, these elements make up the whole), namely elitism, understood as a special social role that is attributed to a given group approving and adopting the ethos of its own, and exclusivity, understood as limited access to obtaining the status of a member of this group.  This understanding of Ethos previously allowed for discussion of, primarily the ethos of a knight[iv], and nowadays – mentioning only for example – ethos of a soldier, lawyer, doctor, architect, and – most importantly in this place – about the ethos of a detective[v]. All these professions – to a greater or lesser extent – remain both elite and exclusive, with stipulations as to the detective profession, which will be developed later in this text.


Considering the above, however, ethos of any group should not be discussed in an inconsequential way, or – by atomizing – the professional group, because not all of them meet the requirement of elitism and exclusivity adopted by the authors in this text. Therefore, bearing such approach in mind, it would be difficult to talk about the ethos of a bricklayer, plasterer or acrobat, because attributing to any of them the same traits of elitism and exclusivity would raise doubts, which – of course – does not diminish the importance of these groups, and especially does not devalue their social importance. 


The ethos of the detective profession and its elitism and exclusivity (development of the concept of the general ethos)


The intellectual basis for this text is to become the ethos of the detective profession, which a moment ago was objected to in terms of satisfying the requirements of elitism and exclusivity. If so, then a sequence of further statements should be advanced in order to open a conclusion.

Thus, the answer to the question about the elitism lies within in the normative field outlined by the Act of 6 July 2001 on detective services [vi]. In accordance with Article 2 UoUD[vii], thus creating a legal definition for the concept of detective services, these services are activities consisting of obtaining, processing and transferring information about persons, objects and events, carried out on the basis of an agreement concluded with the principal(employer), in forms and not beyond the extent reserved exclusively for state bodies and institutions under separate provisions[viii]. 

The very essence of detective services – it seems – results from the elitism of the detective profession, because it plays a special social role due to its (social) competences [ix], which have not been reserved for the monopoly of state power, and which require appropriate qualifications, predispositions and character traits from it.  The first condition justifying the definition of the set of rules applicable to Polish detectives as an ethos is therefore met.


The reasoning for this exclusivity should be made on the basis of the definition contained in Article 4 section 2 UoUD, 2 of the UoUD, which expressly states that the detective is a licensed person. Thus formally, it would therefore seem that the criteria of the detective's professional exclusivity is met. However, since not everything satisfies requirements that are formally implemented, it is still necessary to consider the practical understanding of a specific normative limitation in the field of access to the detective profession.  The understanding of this limitation is a result of the answer to the question of who can become a detective, and it is answered by who can apply for a license. And this one who: holds Polish citizenship (or citizenship of another Member State of the European Union or has, on the basis of international agreements or provisions of European Union law, the right to take up employment or conduct business activity on the territory of the Republic of Poland); is 21 years of age; has at least secondary education; has full legal capacity; is not subject to criminal proceedings or proceedings in cases of fiscal offense committed intentionally; has not been convicted by a final court judgment for a crime or fiscal offense committed intentionally; has not been disciplinarily dismissed from the Police, Border Guard, Internal Security Agency, Intelligence Agency, Government Protection Office, army, prosecutor's office, court or other public administration office in the Republic of Poland or another country in the last 5 years; has an impeccable opinion issued by the district (municipal) Police commander competent for his place of residence; has mental capacity to perform activities in the field of detective services confirmed by a medical certificate; has a document confirming training in the field of personal data protection, protection of classified information, legal regulations and the duties of a detective and the principles of conducting business activity in the field of detective services [x].


The requirements describing the methods of acquiring a detective license, exist because of legislative deregulation of the profession that occurred three years ago[xi]. Based on prima facie facts, it is believed that the number of these requirements is satisfying. Such statement however would be flawed, or at least misleading, because in terms of quality they are unsatisfactory when considering the realistic circumstance of referred traits. Thus, in practical terms, the requirements for this profession became limited. To avoid further engagement in intellectual levity, while not relegating the issue at hand to a state of absurd, one could attempt to outline a sample profile of a polish detective candidate considering laws applicable in Poland. Then according to such a profile, the candidate would have to be Polish (or any other person holding such right). They can be a Polish citizen of youthful age, as in accordance with the applicable laws the minimum age is stated as 21 years. Professionally, they could be a bricklayer or a plasterer, if they acquire the necessary education, in this case – secondary education. As such, no law prohibits citizens of careers such as, for instance gamblers, to undertake the professional activity of a detective,  and after all, nothing stipulates potential removal or loss to the right to practice the aforementioned detective profession. A candidate could be a charlatan (pol. szalbierz), as the act of being a charlatan is not penalized by law [xii], nor It can be prosecuted in court. A speeder (pol. Pirat drogowy) could also potentially be a detective, e.g. a speeder who, albeit unintentionally was responsible for a car crash that lead to death of a pedestrian, as crime such as this is not considered intentional. During wartime, an individual could be evacuated alongside children and the elderly, since after all, it may be determined that there was no opportunity for disciplinary dismissal from the military service. This candidate may also be a hardened beautician, possessing appropriate mental abilities in this respect, as well as having the ability to bilocate, if he only formally undergoes appropriate training. But if, in the end, he manages to hide all "sensitive" circumstances from the Police during environmental intelligence investigation (sit venia verbo, which does not seem to be a spectacular achievement), then the way to practice the detective profession is open to such a candidate.


Thus, bearing in mind the aforementioned, can the detective profession really be called vivacious? It seems that one would be inclined to a negative answer, after all, almost everyone can become a detective [xiii] (which of course does not mean that after the release from the profession there are no "new" detectives in the best sense of the word, there is no doubt that most of them can certainly be considered such), and the argument – appearing very often on such occasions – that the free market will eliminate the weakest entities has unfortunately not been reflected in reality. On the other hand, the low social assessment of the detective profession [xiv][xv] is reflected, which should not only be regretted, but also – and perhaps – specific actions should be taken. While not necessarily surprising, but still important nonetheless, is the outline of research on the state of Polish detective science, which justifies the belief that there is no real perspective through which a reliable assessment of the detective profession could be made. Among the sources of knowledge on Polish detective work, one can hardly find those that could become a desirable platform for social observation of the real work of the Polish detectives and its true meaning. From media reports, the stereotypical detective often emerges as a fraud, a scammer, a hoaxer, a juggler, or an evidence manufacturer[xvi]. And why does it matter that the genesis of such a stereotypical image is rooted in publications of reduced intellectual ambition, if they resonate most strongly in the social sphere with an eloquent and often evocative message, for which only a few "work" and all representatives of the profession "pay". On the other hand, feature films do not seem to evoke any associations with the Polish detective, and documented series in this regard are often received by their viewers not with appreciation, but rather with excessive depreciation of the seriousness of the profession. The only reliable source of knowledge about Polish detective work is university education, but – due to its limited scope – it is not able to present a true picture documenting the actual conditions of performing detective work to the general public, who are not interested in learning the nuances of this picture. Education is also of limited importance due to the lack of basically systemic academic education, because detective studies – as a lecture subject – draws its strength most strongly from the basics of forensics, which, noting on the fringe, unfortunately, in the realities of Polish universities, is often not given due attention, especially the time determined by the curriculum, which consequently does not bring the desired and measurable effects[xvii].


Regarding the aforementioned, there is, again: unfortunately, no alternative to giving a negative answer to the question whether the detective profession is exclusive, because despite the formal criteria set for candidates for a detective, in fact they do not create a sufficient barrier protecting access to the profession, at least not enough to talk about its exclusivity – it is a more normative illusion than a real lens intended to focus the desired features of individual candidates.


So has the detective profession ever been exclusive? I would say so. The limited volume framework of this text does not allow for the formulation of any more extensive postulates at the level of lex ferenda, it is enough to say that the state licensing exam in the field of knowledge of the provisions of the Constitution of the Republic of Poland[xviii], the provisions on the Police, the non-existent Office of State Protection, the Border Guard, the protection of personal data, the protection of classified information and the provisions of civil and criminal law (material and procedural), forensics, criminology and victimology, as well as forensic psychology, in force before the deregulation of candidates for the detective, allowed for better management of their selection and – in the final analysis – the selection of the best of them for the profession – sum of sums – public trust. 


Ethics and accessibility of the detective profession (outline based on model of lex ferenda)


In the context of our previous thoughts, since the ethos of the profession, and consequently the ethical aspects of its performance, is determined by the method of recruitment of new representatives guaranteeing the inflow of the best candidates, therefore everything in this regard depends on the criteria of this selection. At the same time, the current formal requirements, after which it is possible to obtain the status of a detective, seem to be insufficient, calling into question the entire ethos and the ethical considerations resulting from it. Therefore, it is possible to fully share the postulates presented by the Polish Association of Licensed Detectives[xix] regarding the conditions for obtaining a detective license.


Thus, first among these postulates, would be the possibility of obtaining a license under new (i.e. after deregulation) conditions, therefore without the need to pass an exam, but with the obligation of the candidate to participate in the appropriate training, while such a simplified procedure would apply only to persons with legal or administrative education or persons previously already performing detective activities within the meaning of Art. 2 section 1 UoUD. In the case of those who would not have had such education or had not previously performed detective activities within the meaning of the cited article, the license exam should be restored. The position of the Polish Association of Licensed Detectives is also approvable, according to which persons already holding an appropriate license would be entitled to employ employees as an assistant detective who would perform his activities under the supervision and under the competence of a licensed detective (and under his responsibility?). Such a person would have to meet the requirements of the relevant act and obtain an entry in the register of employees kept by the agency (or another appropriate one in this respect). It is perfectly justified, as that this would be an excellent opportunity to gain the necessary experience and confirm the conviction that you have made the right professional choice. Finally, it is also reasonably postulated to prohibit any entities from operating on the market under a name that may mislead as to the scope of detective services provided, if the persons conducting them would not have the detective license necessary in this case, because such a procedure is not so much unethical as fraudulent[xx].


The above reasoning could be charged with the "corporatism" of the profession and the desire to unjustifiably block access to it to potentially new candidates. However, such an allegation would be erroneous and would not find any support in the new realities after deregulation. Ratio legis of its accomplishment – at least in the postulates of the theory – focused on the declared need to improve the quality of detective services and reduce their prices. Although there is no doubt that many of the detectives recruited after deregulation are unquestionable professionals, the environmental study reveals a picture of reality other than the theory declared in the above-mentioned postulates, namely: instead of increasing the quality of the detective services market, it was partially reduced, while instead of lowering the prices of professional detective services, the opposite trend was observed. However, it seems that even a corporate, if not state, exam in the field of legal, forensic and criminological knowledge as well as the legal status of a detective and an entrepreneur would contribute to the minimum selection of candidates to perform services, guaranteeing the protection of fundamental rights and civil liberties, as well as the freedom of economic activity, which, although protected (the authors do not question this), seems to be not fully satisfactory. 


Officially, the release of the detective profession took place under the banner of the implementation of the economic freedom mentioned earlier, but it was difficult (and probably still is) to resist the impression that in fact the actual reason for its implementation was – at least to some extent – the state's impotence in the face of the rapidly increasing crime, which – in the general trend – began to decrease only from 2006[xxi]. However, it seems that if the official declaration were true, then the state would provide real powers to representatives of the private sector. Instead, the state championed a normative phantom creating the illusion of economic freedom, and the freed itself from some its basic duties. It is symptomatic that – according to data collected by the Polish Association of Licensed Detectives – half of detective agencies and practicing private detectives have organized themselves in the last 1.5 years, while the first half needed a quarter of a century (1989–2014), and this disproportion – in the light of the latest data – is constantly growing, often to the detriment of the beneficiaries (clients) of detective services, as well as the professional ethos itself.


The state of Polish detective profession in comparative terms


The above reflections may come as melancholy, as it is intensified by the feeling of lost opportunities of making Polish detective industry a leader capable of creating professional standards among representatives of the profession in other countries, including ethical standards building the entire ethos. The comparative analysis of the state of Polish detective industry in comparison to selected European countries indicates that its condition is, however, significantly above the European average, as shown in Table 1 below. 


Table 1. Polish detective industry in comparative terms with respective industries in selected European nations.


Source: My own study based on data collected between 15–18 April 2015 during the IKD congress in Barcelona.


Position of the Polish Association of Licensed Detectives in the structure of the Internationale Kommission der Detektiv-Verbände (comparative remarks on the Code of Ethics of the Polish Association of Licensed Detectives)


The emergent opportunity from the above list noticed by the Polish Association of Licensed Detectives mentioned earlier in this text – a representative body of the community of licensed detectives[xxii] from all over Poland, established at the end of 2008, and becoming a full-fledged legal entity in the following year. The concept underlying the establishment of the Polish Association of Licensed Detectives was to be influenced by the belief that the fate of the Polish detective community cannot be decided exclusively by people from outside this environment, and therefore those who do not perform the profession of a detective without having appropriate authority in this regard , as well as the right to conduct business in the field of detective services [xxiii]. Emphasis should be placed on the fact that the Polish Association of Licensed Detectives is the only association in the country of natural persons holding the professional title of detective obtained on the basis of a license. The activity of the Polish Association of Licensed Detectives was focused on efforts to improve the quality of detective services and to comply with the principles of professional ethics when performing the adopted tasks. What is particularly important, this activity has become – in accordance with the declaration of the Association itself, and then further confirmed in practice – "a determinant of the adoption in the jurisprudence of courts of the definition of the Association as the only representative of the detective professional group in Poland"[xxiv].


One of the first initiatives taken by the authorities of the Polish Association of Licensed Detectives was the adoption of the Code of Ethics of the Detective, which is a set of principles and ethical rules that should be followed by any detective belonging to the Association, while recommending to respect its regulations by every detective practicing in Poland, but outside of the association. The Code of Ethics of the Polish Association of Licensed Detectives, like any other code of ethics, is the source of law applicable to all members voluntarily associated in the structures of the Association in the field of standards of conduct at the level of professional deontology. It became not only a determinant of the proceedings for the addressees of its norms, but also the subject of interest of representatives of Polish criminal law science, also because the disciplinary norms contained therein were classified by domestic jurisprudence into the category of repressive law. The Code of Ethics of the Polish Association of Licensed Detectives is also unique for other reasons, which – due to the wording of the subject of this work and the resulting intellectual direction of its curriculum – should be given some attention, especially since the issue of codes of professional ethics occupies a central place among the discourse regarding professional ethics as such.


According to the above assumption, firstly it should be said that not every set of standards of professional ethics can aspire to the name of a code of this ethics. The norms constructing a code of this type are anchored to certain axiology tinged with the moral stimulus of their creation. Thus, a set of norms not motivated by ethical discussion may become at most specific – as the Germans say – Prozessordnung or – considering a certain pensum of morality – Praxisordnung. The technical norms determining specific directions of action alone are not enough, orbiting in this semantic poetics, such a code must become the innerer Halt, only then it becomes an ethical code in the full sense of the word. At the same time, it is impossible to lose sight of the fact that the mere establishment of this type of code without at the same time constituting the means of its compliance is not a sufficient guarantee of the implementation of the standards that construct it. Moreover, such an approach may give rise to moral cynicism and idolatrous professional complacency resulting from the unjustified belief that the mere establishment of any code meets all requirements in this regard. Therefore, the primary role determining the desired shape of the code of professional ethics falls on the actual reasons for its creation. Many of these reasons remain in an immanent relationship with education and a specific enforcement of moral correctness within a given profession and – therefore – prevention of undesirable behaviour. A well-formed and transparent code of professional ethics can become an important educational source by setting standards indicating what constitutes moral good and what constitutes professional evil in the profession. The mere awareness of the existence of such normative signposts is sometimes a reliable stimulator of desirable behaviours, also rejected for fear of the reaction of the professional environment, which is a reference point for a violator of established codex standards. The scattered sanction described in this way, considering the visible and progressive decomposition of social ties (although without falling into excessive hysteria in this regard), is sometimes insufficient, and ultimately – unreliable. Therefore, good codes of professional ethics should provide for a sanction of individualized repression, threatening members of the community bound by its provisions, such as expulsion from a given group whose ethos of conduct has been violated. It is also worth adding that among the reasons for establishing codes of professional ethics there may be various premises: from altruistic beliefs (valued positively) to selfish moral cynicism (valued negatively), which could become a screen hiding a professional corporation from an unfavourable moral assessment of its members' behaviour. Therefore, there is no doubt – especially from a sociological perspective – that the code of professional ethics should be based on a common axiology and a coherent system of values represented and internalized by all members of the group but stripped of the motivation embedded in Arivism [xxv].


All the above and desirable requirements are met by the Code of Detective Ethics adopted by the Polish Association of Licensed Detectives, while being – as it seems – free from the described threats[xxvi].


The ambition of representatives of Polish detective work on the European level was also fulfilled by the admission of the Polish Association of Licensed Detectives as members of the title Internationale Kommission der Detektiv-Verbände (IKD) during a congress in Barcelona organized in April 2015.


Founded in 1964, the IKD is an international umbrella consisting of private detective associations and – originally – security services around the world, whose primary purpose is to set and communicate the level of private sector investigations approved by the IKD as the applicable minimum standard in the European Union. The indicated federation has a significant role on the market of detective services due to the absence of harmonised regulations on the liberal, international free market, which creates uncertainty, unfair competition and attracts to bad methods of performing services.


Research conducted by IKD revealed the lack of a uniform, common standard in 22 countries (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Germany, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Sweden, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and the United Kingdom), the lack of legislation in this area, various procedures, differences in criteria and non-legislative tolerance of offences.


Under the assumption of the impossibility of maintaining this state of affairs as a starting point, IKD proposed that the minimum standard of requirements for persons practicing the profession of a private detective should consist primarily of:


‰‰ Personal requirements, such as: minimum age and mental ability – Option 1.

‰‰ Honesty and integrity, or in other words: no criminal record – Option 2.

‰‰ Competency, verifying knowledge, practice, and experience through tests – Option 3

‰‰ Minimum compensation - a professional compensation of €100,000 – Option 4.

‰‰ A code of ethics, namely: the current IKD code with information secrecy bonds – Option 5.


Exemptions from Options 1 to 5 would be applied by the national licensing authority, while the validity of the option calculated from the date of accession to IKD.




As a recapitulation of the statements above, it should be said that – despite the justified and deserving of full realization of the ambitions of the representatives of the industry – the detective profession in Poland, in its elitism, is unfortunately not exclusive, its ethos – at least in the best and fullest sense of the word – is therefore located more in the sphere of possible desires and ideas than in the field of actually existing circumstances. The validity of such a statement is determined by defective, or at least leaving a lot of insufficiency, statutory regulations determining the place and role of the detective. This Act, while not imposing sufficient requirements for the selection of candidates for the profession of detective, does not sufficiently protect its exclusivity, and thus – to some extent – the quality of the services offered. This diagnosis, despite the pessimism contained in it, was made and, as it seems, a bit exaggerated and is probably too tinged with the enthusiasm of the MEM, because in fact one can also have doubts about the recognition of the elitism of Polish detective work. However, if it is true to assume that this elitism is to be determined by the special function of a given group in society, the question must be asked immediately – in the context of the previous considerations – whether even this elitism can be demonstrated, since the relevant law does not grant the detective any essentially formal powers to perform this function. Therefore, if this elitism, with which the ethos of each profession is immanently linked, is a value in itself, it is worth remembering that this value was lost during the deregulation carried out in 2013, when – exposing the reasons for economic freedom – the requirements for gaining access to the detective profession were reduced, which, although it benefited from increasing free market competition, at the same time, the quality of detective services was reduced, although – contrary to forecasts – it was not accompanied by – at least visible – a decrease in their prices, and the nodal objectives of this deregulation, at least those declared officially, were not achieved. At the same time, the number of irregularities among the representatives of the profession in the area of its ethical aspects increased. Nevertheless, Polish detective studies seem to occupy a special and distinctive position among other comparable European countries. The opportunities arising from this have been noticed by the Polish Association of Licensed Detectives, which seems to continue in its efforts to constantly improve not only the quality of services provided, but also to build new standards in the ethical dimension, as best evidenced by the Code of Detective Ethics adopted by its authorities. An expression of these efforts was also the admission of the Polish Association of Licensed Detectives as a member of the Internationale Kommission der Detektiv-Verbände, where the Polish Association can not only gain new experience, but also make a creative contribution to the development of European detective work, becoming its leader.




·       Aleksandrowicz T.R. (ed.), Komentarz do ustawy o usługach detektywistycznych, Warsaw 2002.

·       Aleksandrowicz T.R., Konieczny J., Konik A., Podstawy detektywistyki.

·       Usługi detektywistyczne [Detective services], prawo, taktyka, moralność Warsaw 2008.

·       Berent M., Analiza krytyczna ustawy o usługach detektywistycznych w kontekście opracowania projektu nowej regulacji prawnej, http://www.psld.pl/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/ Marcin_Berent_Zjazd_PSLD _Analiza_krytyczna_ UoUD.pdf (13.02.2016).

·       •⇥Duby G., Czasy katedr.

·       Sztuka i społeczeństwo 980–1420, Warsaw 1984.

·       Gozdór G., Usługi detektywistyczne, Warsaw 2005.

·       Hanausek T., Kryminalistyka.

·       Outline of the lecture, Warsaw 2009.

·       Hołyst B., Kryminalistyka, Warsaw2007.

·       Jankowska A., Wolny jak detektyw, "Wprost", January 4, 2015.

·       Kasprzak J., Młodziejowski B., Brzęk W., Moszczyński J., Kryminalistyka, Warsaw 2006.

·       Kędzierska G., Kędzierski W., Kryminalistyka.

·       Wybrane zagadnienia techniki, Szczytno 2011.

·       Kulicki M., Kwiatkowska-Wójcikiewicz V., Stępka L., Kryminalistyka.

·       Selected issues of investigative and judicial theory and practice, Toruń 2009.

·       Ossowska M., Ethos rycerski i jego odmiany, Warsaw 2000.

·       Sobol E. (ed.), Mały słownik języka polskiego, Warsaw 1994.

·       Tokarczyk R., Etyka prawnicza, Warszawa 2005.

·       Widacki J. (ed.), Kryminalistyka, Warszawa 2012.

·       Zakrzewski L.S., Ethos rycerski w dawnej i współczesnej wojnie, Warsaw 2004.

[i] Mgr. Marcin Berent – lawyer; assistant at the Department of Criminal Law and Criminal Policy of the Faculty of Law and Administration of the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń; graduate at the Department of History of the 20th Century of the Institute of History and Archives of the Faculty of Historical Sciences of the same University; legal expert at the Law Firm and Lawyers "Lech Obara and Associates" in Olsztyn; licensed detective at EXPERTUS security-secret-services Group in War- szawa; legal consultant of the Polish Association of Licensed Detectives (e-mail: mb@expertus.eu).

[ii] Dr. Wiesław J. Modrakowski – PhD in legal sciences; licensed detective and proxy of the company EXPERTUS security-secret-services Group in Warsaw; President of the Polish Association of Licensed Detectives; Security and Counterintelligence Counsellor for the protection of contracts and corporations; former officer of the Office of Crime of the Economic Police Headquarters – superintendent in retirement; b. Chairman of the Management Board of the Warsaw Polish Association of Employers PROTECTION; member of many international business security organizations – including the International Association of Auto Theft Investigators, World Association of Detectives International Police Association (e-mail: wjm@expertus.pl).


[iii] Cf. E. Sobol (ed.), Mały słownik języka polskiego, Warsaw 1994, p. 189.


[iv] More on this topic: G. Duby,G. Duby, Czasy katedr. Sztuka i społeczeństwo 980–1420, Warsaw 1984.  See also: M. Ossowska, Ethos rycerski i jego odmiany, Warsaw 2000  Cf. L.S. Zakrzewski, Ethos rycerski w dawnej i współczesnej wojnie, Warsaw 2004.


[v] Assuming that the ethos implies certain ethical standards applicable to a given social group (narrowing: professional), the classic professions in which one can talk about their ethos include, in addition to the above, also the profession of: teacher, social worker, psychologist and accountant. Tak Przynajmniej: R. Tokarczyk, Etyka prawnicza, Warsaw 2005, p. 43.


[vi] Journal of Laws of 2002. No. 12, item 110, as amended.


[vii] This abbreviation means the Act of 6 July 2001 on detective services, i.e. of Laws of 2002  No. 12, item 110, as amended.


[viii] The following words: "Detective services are activities consisting in obtaining, processing and transferring information about persons, objects and events, carried out on the basis of a contract concluded with the principal, in forms and to the extent not reserved for state authorities and institutions under separate regulations, in particular: 1) in matters arising from legal relationships regarding natural persons; 2) in matters arising from business relationships regarding: a) the performance of property obligations, payment capacity or reliability in these relationships, b) unlawful use of trade names or trademarks, unfair competition or disclosure of information constituting a trade secret or trade secret; 3) checking the reliability of information regarding damages reported to insurance companies; 4) searching for missing or hiding persons; 5) searching for property; 6) collecting information in a case in which criminal proceedings, tax offenses or tax offenses or other, may be applied in the course of proceedings. 2. The activities referred to in sections 1, point 6, there cannot be bodies conducting or supervising proceedings in these matters".


[ix] Sit venia verbo, one can have reasonable doubts whether the social competences required of the detective have been coupled with appropriate normative competences (powers). It is not the subject of this work to present in-depth considerations in this regard, but it seems that – despite genuine needs – this doubt must be resolved in an unsatisfactory way, at least for the representatives of the detective profession. Cf. M. Berent, Analiza krytyczna ustawy o usługach detektywistycznych w kontekście opracowania projektu nowej regulacji prawne,, http://www.psld.pl/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Marcin_Berent_Zjazd_PSLD_Analiza_krytyczna_UoUD.pdf (13/02/2016). 


[x] Arg. from art. 29 section 1 UoUD.


[xi] For more: Act of 13 June 2013 amending the acts regulating the performance of certain professions, i.e. of Laws of 2013, item 829, validated on 1 January 2014


[xii] Arg. from art. 121 of the Act of 20 May 1971 – Code of Offences, i.e. Journal of Laws of 1971 No. 12, item 114, as amended (hereinafter referred to as k.w.).


[xiii] See W.J. Modrakowski's statement to the media: A. Jankowska, Wolny jak detektyw, "Wprost" 


[xiv] .01.2015, pp. 45 et seq.


[xv] The low social rating in this respect seems to extend to the entire sector of private security services in Poland, so detectives do not enjoy a bad reputation in isolation, and B. Hołyst aptly states (although the statement is not cheerful): "In public opinion and in the media, the image of private security services in connection with numerous abuses (sub-points – M.B., W.J.M.), exceeding the competences of these services, is rather negative". Tak: idem, Kryminalistyka, Warszawa 2007, p. 1333.



[xvi] The authors of this text deliberately resign from referring to relevant press or radio reports at this point, because these – allowing for the personal identification of specific persons – could be too offensive to them, which is not the case in scientific studies, and this is what the article aspires to. However, the authors feel exempt from this obligation, as this information is widely available, and it is also known which magazines excel in their distribution.



[xvii] Research on the state of Polish literature on the subject shows that among the few literature devoted to detective work par excellence, only: T.R. Aleksandrowicz (ed.), Commentary on the Act on Detective Services, Warsaw 2002, partially already obsolete; based to some extent on this commentary: T.R. Aleksandrowicz, J. Konieczny and A. Konik, Fundamentals of Detective Work. Usługi detektywistyczne, prawo, taktyka, morność [Detective services, law, tactics, morality], Warsaw 2008 and: G. Gozdór, Usługi detektywistyczne [Detective services], Warsaw 2005 In the academic forensic literature, no separate chapter has been devoted to detective issues – cf. M. Kulicki, V. Kwiatkowska-Wójcikiewicz, L. Stępka, Kryminalistyka. Selected issues of investigative and judicial theory and practice, Toruń 2009; T. Hanausek, Kryminalistyka. Zarys wykładu, Warszawa 2009; J. Widacki (ed.), Kryminalistyka, Warszawa 2012; J. Kasprzak, B. Młodziejowski, W. Brzęk, J. Moszczyński, Kryminalistyka, Warszawa 2006; G. Kędzierska, W. Kędzierski, Kryminalistyka. Selected issues of technology, Szczytno 2011. A certain exception to this is B. Hołyst's textbook, but even there, despite its volume, especially the inclusion among its contents of the chapter entitled "The role of private security services in the prevention of crime", as well as writing positions devoted to detective work in the supplementary literature placed at the end of chapter LXII, there is basically no information on the problems of detective work as such. See idem, op. cit., pp. 1321–1335, especially pp. 1332–1334.


[xviii]  Journal of Laws of 1997 No. 13, item 94, as amended, abbreviated Journal of Laws of 2001 No. 28, item 319


[xix] The Association of Licensed Detectives itself will be referred to later in the text. 


[xx] Yes: http://www.licencjonowanidetektywi.pl/dla-mediow (13/02/2016). 


[xxi] Cf. http://statystyka.policja.pl/st/ogolne-statystyki/47682,Postepowania-wszczete-przestepstwa-st wierdzone-i-wykrywalnosc-w-latach-1999-2014.html (13/02/2016).


[xxii] The authors may excessively exploit the concept of a "licensed" detective, after all, there is no other, because you cannot be an unlicensed detective. However, the authors want to highlight the existence of this license in this way (along with systemic deficiencies in terms of the criteria for obtaining it), so they do not feel that they do so to the detriment of the transparency of their considerations.


[xxiii] See http://www.licencjonowanidetektywi.pl/ (13/02/2016).


[xxiv] Ibidem.


[xxv]  See R. Tokarczyk, op. cit., p. 60.


[xxvi] Idem published on the website: http://www.psld.pl/o-psld/kodeks-etyki-detektywa/ (13/02/2016).




from Latin "Experienced and effective in the profession"