Ethical Investigation is there such a thing?

Ethical Investigation is hot in the press as the Leveson Inquiry is now well and truly in full swing with Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and the PM himself due for a grilling this week.  At Lateo Surveillance Ltd we feel it would now be a good time to discuss the question above.  Firstly, let us look at what the following words ethical & moral actually mean:


A well-known online dictionary defines it as: pertaining to or dealing with morals, pertaining to right and wrong.  What, then, is ethics? Ethics are two things. First, ethics refers to well-founded standards of right and wrong that prescribe what humans ought to do, usually in terms of rights, obligations, benefits to society, fairness, or specific virtues. Ethics, for example, refers to those standards that impose the reasonable obligations to refrain from rape, stealing, murder, assault, slander, and fraud. Ethical standards also include those that enjoin virtues of honesty, compassion, and loyalty. And, ethical standards include standards relating to rights, such as the right to life, the right to freedom from injury, and the right to privacy. Such standards are adequate standards of ethics because they are supported by consistent and well-founded reasons.

Secondly, ethics refers to the study and development of one’s ethical standards. As mentioned above, feelings, laws, and social norms can deviate from what is ethical. So it is necessary to constantly examine one’s standards to ensure that they are reasonable and well-founded. Ethics also means, then, the continuous effort of studying our own moral beliefs and our moral conduct, and striving to ensure that we, and the institutions we help to shape, live up to standards that are reasonable and solidly-based


Again the well-known online dictionary defines it as: Concerned with the judgment of the goodness or badness of human character.  Moral is synonymous with “good” or “right.” Immorality is the active opposition to morality (i.e. good or right), while amorality is variously defined as an unawareness of, indifference toward, or disbelief in any set of moral standards or principles. An example of a moral code is the which states that, “One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.”


Brings with it many cries of ‘Intrusion’ ‘Snooping’ and many more.  All relating to a feeling of an Invasion of privacy.  In some cases I personally believe there has been, the phone hacking scandal for example; listening to the voicemails of missing children or dead service persons families are disgraceful and senseless in my personal opinion.  The media initiated these investigations and hopefully they will be brought to account for their actions (i’ll be very surprised) but live in hope, also the unscrupulous investigators who were stupid enough to cross the line will no doubt receive the full wrath of justice.

Watching the Detectives

The controversial issue of private Investigators selling very sensitive information such as bank statements and medical records obtained by deception was recently highlighted in a documentary by Channel 4 Dispatches Watching the Detectives  exposed and brought to light a genuine cause for concern regarding illegal activities which took place during the Investigation.

I can say with hand on heart this is not common practice within the industry.  There are some very professional Investigators who have and follow ethical codes of conduct.

As in all Industries there are good and bad even if legislation is implemented (which I fully support) sadly I believe there will still be unscrupulous individuals who will do almost anything for a quick payment.


We have at Lateo Surveillance on many occasions turned down the request to conduct Investigations when we believe or have been asked to do something we feel is not morally right, for example cases of entrapment.  The problem I believe is not ethical but a moral issue. If you’re dealing with a company who does not believe entrapment i.e. honey traps are immoral, is their investigation ethical? My question is how far will they go?

Choosing an Investigator can be a minefield, for some tips of the trade see our blog Private Investigation The Facts where we have given some advice which hopefully will help you make a good choice.


Investigations can indeed be ethical and moral providing they are conducted ethically and follow a (Strict) code of moral conduct.  Private Investigation does not have to be intrusive or infringe anyone’s human rights, it can and does confirm or indeed deny in many cases your suspicions allowing closure or action without the need for confrontation in the first instance.

© 2012 Lateo Surveillance Ltd Ethical Investigation

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