Investigator vs Detective
Difference between investigator and detective is in the context in which we use each word. Investigator and detective are two words that are very confusing for people, because some agencies use the word detectives, while others favor the word investigators. At cursory glance, one can see that a detective is a sort of a rank in an organization, whereas an investigator on a particular case may or may not be the permanent detective of the organization. Whatever the difference, the scene is certainly not what is shown in TV serials or novels with a detective or investigator typically dealing with dozens of cases at a time, and not dealing with a single case 24 hours a day. Coming back to the topic, detective may be just an assignment or a rank in the organization while investigator is always a generic term. There are many more differences that will be talked about in this article.
Who is an Investigator?
An investigator is the person who looks into some kind of a puzzling or criminal matter. This is more of a generic term as even a detective is an investigator. The word PI (Private Investigator) is reserved for investigators from private organizations. Investigators are persons whose services are mostly sought in cases of missing persons. They are also hired to prove cases of adultery. In fact, adultery is proving to be a very profitable activity for private investigators to earn good money these days. Usually, you do not see Private Investigators working cases such as homicides, arson, etc.
Who is a Detective?
A detective is an investigator who may belong to a police force or may be an employee of a private detective firm. He may even be an ordinary private person having abilities to solve cases. When it comes to the types of cases a detective handles, we can say that detectives are usually hired by government agencies to investigate criminal matters. Insurance companies also hire the services of detectives when they are faced with huge claims that look suspicious to them.
If we consider that the detective is working for the police, then, detective is a higher rank in the police hierarchical ladder in some countries. They are investigators with a higher rank. For example, if you consider United Kingdom, in order to become a detective, a police officer has to face examinations. First of all, they have to have completed at least two years in uniform as a police officer. They have to obtain qualifications then to enter the Initial Crime Investigators’ Development Programme. To enter that programme, they have to pass the National Investigators’ Examination.
Then, if we look at United States, there too we can see that in order for a normal police officer to become a detective they have to face a number of tests. First, they have to obtain a degree from law enforcement academy to get the theoretical knowledge. When that is completed, he or she is put into the field under the supervision of a senior officer so that he or she can see how things are done in the real world. This field training can range from one to two years. Then, he or she has to face a competitive exam that will test what he or she knows about the areas such as criminal investigation, criminal law, collection and preservation of evidence, etc. The senior officers hold this test. At the end of it, a list is created with the suitable candidates. Sometimes, all of them are made detectives and sometimes only a few are made detectives.
What is the difference between Investigator and Detective?
Both detectives and investigators have become very popular in modern times because of the services rendered by them in helping to solve mysteries. There are agencies that call them detectives, and there are agencies that call them investigators making it all the more confusing. However, there exist certain differences in their roles, functions and qualifications.
Investigator is a more of a generic term while detective shows some rank in the police force in some countries. For a normal police officer to become a detective, he or she has to go through a lot of tests.
Detectives are used to solve criminal matters, while investigators are employed to solve cases of missing person and adultery though, there are no rules regarding this.
While anyone who enters law enforcement can be known as an investigator, you have to pass examinations, gain field experience and have theoretical knowledge to become a detective.
- Private Investigator by Tzahy Lerner (CC BY-SA 3.0)
- Police Detective via Wikicommons (Public Domain)