Private Investigation Around the World

Private Investigation around the World:  What You Need To Know

To many of us, when we hear “private investigator”, our minds immediately jump to Hollywood images of men in trench coats and deer stalker caps using their keen sense of forensic surveillance to track down the bad guy who is bent on total World domination. While there are some people that would like you to believe that far-fetched image, most private investigators laugh at the notion. But even seasoned PIs’ might be surprised to learn how the profession differs from country to country, around the World.
Here is some information you need to know if you are looking to learn about private investigation outside of B.C.

Canada/United States


In Canada, the Private Investigation Industry is regulated Provincially. In order to work as a private investigator in Canada a person must have a valid private investigator license. Private Investigators are only permitted to work in the Province for which they are licensed unless authorized to do so by another Provincial Governing body. Many Provinces also have a “code of conduct” section which specifies the manner in which a private investigation is to be conducted. In the US about 95% of states have licensing protocols for private investigators. While a few still appear to be “thinking about it”, most states have established a minimum standard of competency for aspirant private investigators. They carry out criminal record checks and run some form of background check prior to licensing. In America, PIs enjoy a greater access to certain databases — purely because they have been subject to stringent licensing.

Germany and the United Kingdom

german flag

There is no Private Investigator license licensing like that to be found in Germany. If you want to hire a German Private Investigator there is no need to ask to see a license. Criminal background checks are not available on or for German PI’s either. Prior to 2001 there was no requirement for PI licensing in the UK. Anyone could frame a sign and hang it in front of their office calling themselves a Private Investigator. Many of these “Investigators found employment with the daily tell-all tabloids where they amounted to really nothing more than paparazzi. Today, after several scandals in this area, Private Investigators in the UK have to meet strict levels of training and be licensed in order to practice their trade.



Russia has a unique way of controlling Private investigations. In order for a citizen to hire a PI in Russia they must have government approval on who they are hiring as the PI and who they intend to investigate. Almost all private investigations that take place in Russia are done by outside of the Country PI firms that specialise in Russian investigations.
If you want to be a Private Investigator or hire a PI in Saudi Arabia be warned. The practise of Private investigation in the UAE is illegal. Outside PI companies operating in the UAE do so at the risk of criminal prosecution and therefor charge large fees for their services.



China has a similar stance as Saudi Arabia when it comes to the Private investigative industry. China banned private detective agencies in 1993 after an explosion in their court caseload sparked mostly by a rise in people wanting to gather evidence in divorce cases, but individual PIs are still allowed to operate. “Private detective agencies have been banned by police since 1993, and the industry and commerce bureaus won’t issue licenses for them.” Again, many people looking for a PI to investigate in China hire a firm outside of the country.
Interestingly enough, there is a World-wide association for investigators and security professionals. The World Association of Detectives or W.A.D., is the longest established and largest association of its kind in the world with origins dating back to 1921. The World Association of Detectives was formed as a joint venture by the combined membership of the World Association of Detectives and the International Secret Service Association for the following purposes:
• To promote and maintain the highest ethical practices in the profession of private investigator or security service;
• To select for membership only those individuals whose personal and professional backgrounds and business affiliations have strictly observed the precepts of truth, accuracy and prudence;
• To eliminate unreliable, incompetent and irresponsible members of the profession;
• To foster and perpetuate a spirit of cooperation among its members and with all those engaged in law enforcement; and
• To further and establish a mutual feeling of trust, goodwill and friendship among agencies throughout the world.

As you can see, the world of Private Investigation is a complex industry full of universal appeal and intrigue with a vast array of operating systems dependent on one’s proximity on the Planet. Beware when looking to hire a PI, know who and what you are dealing with.

Kusic and Kusic Inc. has been in the Private Investigative industry for the last 23 years and provides top quality services confidentially to both private individuals and corporations.
Jack Weatherell is the Director of Marketing at Kusic and Kusic Private Investigators. The opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of Kusic and Kusic Ltd.

*Photos courtesy of Flicker
Photo Credit: whereinworld wordpress “canada_united-states-2.jpg”

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