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Private Investigator inquiry - Channel 4, Watching the Detectives

14 May 2012

Inquiry into Private Investigators

As part of its inquiry on Private Investigators, the Home Affairs Committee today received an advance viewing of the Channel 4 Dispatches documentary, Watching the Detectives and heard a short presentation from producer Paul Woolwich

This followed a seminar, at which Richard Thomas CBE, former Information Commissioner, was joined by many private investigators themselves in calling on the Government to increase the potential penalties for breaches of the Data Protection Act.

Chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, Rt. Hon Keith Vaz MP said:

This documentary raises very troubling questions about the illegal trade in personal data which is carried out by unscrupulous private investigators.

The Committee heard this morning that despite the majority of private investigators being hard working, professional and law abiding, there are some who are willing to flagrantly abuse the privacy of individuals.

The Minister responsible for the regulation of the security industry, Lynne Featherstone MP, will be appearing before the Committee next Tuesday morning. I will be asking her about the penalties available and what action she is taking to introduce regulation into this industry.

For further information please contact Alex Paterson on 020 7219 1589

Further information

  • Lynne Featherstone MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary for Equalities and Criminal Information at the Home Office, will appear before the Home Affairs Select Committee on Tuesday 22 May to face questions about the possible regulation of private investigators.
  • The Committee has been inquiring into private investigators since January 2012. Full details are available on the Committee’s website.

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