The profession of Private Research Agent

The detective-Private Investigator must meet a number of strict conditions and requirements in order to practice his profession in compliance with the law.

Article L621-1 of the Internal Security Code, created by order no. 2012-351 of 12 March 2012, defines the profession of Private Research Agent, more commonly referred to as private detective, as: « the liberal profession which, for a person, consists of gathering, without stating the capacity in which he is working or revealing the purpose of his work, information or intelligence for third parties, with a view to defending their interests ».

Conditions in relation to good character and morality

The Private Investigator:

Authorisation to practice the profession

Each agency must be authorised by the Regional Commissions of the French National Board for Private Security Activities (CNAPS) and each of the directors must hold an authorisation which may be withdrawn in the event of an infringement.
Article L612-14 of the Code on Internal Security stipulates that prior administrative authorisation does not confer any official status on the company or on the persons who benefit from it. It does not give rise in any way to a liability on the part of the public authorities.

Aptitudes and professional qualifications

As a pre-requisite for the practice of the profession and any application for accreditation, it is essential to have obtained a diploma approved by the State, in accordance with law no. 2003-239 of 18 March 2003 and decree no. 2005-1123 of 6 September 2005 in relation to the professional qualification of directors and the professional aptitude of employees of private research agencies.

Administrative supervision

The controllers of the CNAPS regional commissions are responsible for ensuring the supervision of the Administrative Authority over private investigators under the terms of Decree no. 2011-1919 of 22 December 2011 relating to the French National Board for Private Security Activities and amending certain decrees relating to the application of law no. 83-629 of 12 July 1983.

Professional secrecy

Private detectives are bound by professional secrecy (Paris Court of Appeal, rulings of 09 July 1980 and 30 June 1982) under the conditions of ordinary law, any indiscretion constituting an offence (TGI (district court) Paris, 17th chamber, 02 May 1978) liable to criminal sanctions (article 226-13 of the New Penal Code).

Compliance with the Code of professional ethics

Decree no. 2011-1919 of 22 December 2011, which created the French National Board for Private Security Activities (CNAPS), made detectives-Private Research Agents subject to supervision by this new administrative authority with responsibility for supervising private research activities.

In this regard the members of the Indicia Group are also members of the main professional bodies, (CNSP-ARP, SNARP) and comply with the Code of Ethics adopted by decree no. 2012-870 of 10 July 2012. They also agree with the conclusions of the White Paper on Private Investigations, which sets out the framework and the development of the profession of Private Investigator.

Finally, the Indicia Group complies with a “Quality Charter” drawn up by its members in order to guarantee quality services for our customers in strict compliance with the law and with the lawfulness of the assignments entrusted to it.