Yesterday brought the news that four so-called private investigators have been sentenced and jailed for their parts in “blagging” information from HM Revenue and Customers, Interpol and the Police National Computer.
The sentences handed down are the first of their kind, being prosecuted for criminal fraud as opposed to data protection offences, Phillip Campbell Smith, Graham Freeman, Adam Spears and Daniel Summers have all faced the reality of carrying out illegal activities and will now pay the price.
All four used very deceptive methods to obtain medical records, mortgage details and bank account information from the Police National Computer. This information was then passed on and sold to clients including mortgage brokers and solicitors. Not surprisingly, all four men had links to the News of The World newspaper which has now been shut dow in the wake of the whole phone hacking scandal of the past 12 months.
In Insight’s eyes it is not before time that rogue elements of our highly professional industry are being stamped out and jail sentences are being passed. We have long called for regulation of the industry to prevent such private investigators from trading and indeed carrying out illegal activities such as blagging and hacking.
Perhaps this news will make anybody still offering and implementing underhand, illegal techniques take notice and serve as a very real warning that it will no longer be tolerated. Making money from illegal activities, no matter what the industry should be punished.
We fully support the calls for industry regulation and have done for many years, after all the negativity and spotlight on the private investigator industry for the wrong reasons it is good to see that action is being taken and that all the negativity that has been uncovered will lead to positive licensing movement in the near future.