Internationale Kommission der Detektiv-Verbände – IKD

XIX Congress Hamburg April 29th 2016

This year’s annual meeting of the Internationale Kommission der Detektiv-Verbände (IKD) took place in Hamburg where 19 member organisations were represented with a further 16 guests in attendance.

The event, which also included the IKD’s triennial congress when it addresses its obligations under its statutes, including board elections, was hosted by the German professional body and IKD member Bund Internationaler Detektive e.V. (BID)

By way of brief explanation as to what the IKD is about, below is an extract of the Secretary General’s (SG) short message in the published BID programme:

The IKD strapline “Harmonizing the Highest Standards since 1964” says everything about the IKD as an umbrella body and its ideals.

One of the major problems that have always existed in the Professional Investigation sector has been its fragmented state and the absence of a mandate to speak collectively as one voice representing a provable majority of like-minded professionals.  The IKD’s objectives and actions go a long way to close that void and the support the IKD and its host enjoys in the delegates attending its meetings is evidence of the success in their aims.

The Minutes of the IKD meetings are available on its website shortly after each annual meeting along with the members’ Reports and Profiles; data that is a good resource for those seeking to conduct international or cross border investigations.  It is worth mentioning here that although the IKD consists of only 24 members, all but two consist of investigative professional bodies, including the World Association of Detectives and thus collectively, the IKD is the largest representative body globally.

One of the several presentations at the meeting was the IKD strategic outline given by the Vice Secretary General (VSG), George Hirtl (Austria).  This covered the IKD’s achievements since 2004, where it stands currently, and it’s ambitions for the next few years.  Of particular note was the IKD plans with training and qualification as the sector develops in harmony from an industry to a profession.  The various presentation slides are also available on the IKD website.

The VSG also displayed the outline demo of the new IKD web site, which will have an administrative back area enabling member organization to upload membership data to ensure their respective members are included in the wider database of practitioners and their inclusion on the IKD map of geographic coverage.

The formal parts of the meeting dealt with approval of its accounts, the re-adoption of English as the IKD official language, the fixing of membership subscription for the next 3 years and the re-election of the board members, George Hirtl (Austria) as Vice Secretary General, Markus Wegst (Switzerland) as Treasurer and Tony Imossi (UK) as Secretary General.

The delegates were reminded that the IKD Code of Ethics were to be adopted by each national organization or at least a declaration that each of their respective Code of Ethics were consistent with that of the IKD’s.

Yusuf Dalda (Turkey) gave a presentation, which led to agreement that the new web site should have a page dedicated to Compliance.

Lothar Muller (Germany BID) addressed the meeting on the subject of training and in particular the BID CPD programme audited by the IKD in October 2015 and the forthcoming Summer School hosted by Maria Bumbaru (Romania).

The meeting closed with the agreement to hold the 2017 meeting in Helsinki, Finland in June and the 2018 meeting in Istanbul, Turkey.

The VSG and SG continued their duties the following day with a welcome speech to the BID delegates at their annual general meeting, copied below.  The speech was followed by the presentation to the BID President, Engin Arkbag (Germany BID) with the IKD Certificate and formal seal recognizing the successful audit of the BID’s CPD programme.

  1. The IKD principal role is to harmonize ethics and standards of competence with an aim to influence a coordinated regime of regulation creating a level playing field for all professional investigators at least throughout Europe.


  1. Each country sees a variation in practice, methods of accessing data and knowledge, be it business, law or custom, between cross border colleagues. This causes problems in meeting expectations particularly of the lay client who commissions an international investigation. 


  1. The IKD brings together leading industry representatives who through the IKD programme are able to influence the common practice and standards introduced to the IKD model and take away such agreed good practice policies to in turn influence and guide the professional investigators in their respective countries.


  1. Collectively, the IKD ideals as an umbrella body is to share and influence the very best from an evolving profession whilst rooting out and eliminating the very worse practices that continue to tarnish the reputation of the investigation sector by the misdeeds of the very few opportunists masquerading under the poisoned title ‘Private Investigator’ whose unprofessional if not illegal behavior curse the good work of the true professional.


  1. But the business is information and information is power or profit so many clients are uninterested in who gets the job done or how or even driven by a price structure made possible by taking short cuts. It is up to the professionals and more so the IKD and its wider family of like minded professionals to resist the easy rich picking of illegal, unlawful or even immoral practices of the ‘Dark Arts’, infamously brought to the public scrutiny by the Judicial and Government sponsored Inquiries in the UK in 2012 following the more commonly known ‘Phone Hacking Scandal’.  A scenario that touched not just the media it was aimed at but the investigation sector way beyond the UK borders.


  1. The end result of the Inquiries for the UK investigators was an expectation of statutory regulation something the already voluntary self-regulated minority had been campaigning towards for at least the previous 70 years through the professional bodies including the IKD. However, although the experience enabled much of the sector to mature and develop professionally by itself in expectation of licensing, the political will has been absent to implement the recommendations of the Inquiries both as regard the media and the Private Investigators.


  1. This leads me to mention the importance of having a coordinated and enforceable Code of Ethics in realistic and achievable terms such as that set by the IKD, which provides the assurance needed to protect the public at large and of course the consumers of investigative services.


  1. But a set of rules by which the practitioners have to abide by is not sufficient. There must be a system of Quality Assurance for the clients and in particular the Professional Investigators themselves who need to have confidence in their overseas colleagues when seeking assistance in cross border activity.  We must be comfortable that what your agent does in your name under your instructions is not only competent but also legal.  This brings me to the IKD campaign for the Common Minimum Standard and its ambitions to harmonize the Common Standard of Competence.  Various projects explore the aims of these policies not least the Summer School programme hosted each year by the IKD member organization in Romania and of course as we saw with impressive results of the well organized BID CPD event last October.  Projects well executed and a good example for all of us to follow.


  1. Each country and IKD member organization will have its own method of testing the competence of the individual members. This is something the IKD is constantly reviewing and seeking to improve and impress on to the other jurisdictions.  This is also why the IKD embraced the BIDs CPD programme and enthusiastically organized the audit of the first ever CPD event for the profession.  And a great success it proved to be.


  1. It is not enough to simply display a logo, no matter how clever or fancy the design. And we all know there are enough meaningless groups pretending to be professional representative of its unregulated membership when they are no more than a collective rabble with the single objective of profiteering without conscience.  It is the IKD and its memberships duty to do all it can to protect the public from such piracy and we do this by setting and maintaining high meaningful and independently enforceable standards for its professional members.  May it long continue to succeed in these aims with its member partners including the BID.

Tony Imossi |IKD Secretary General