The confidential report produced by the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) in 2008, found that private investigators, linked to organised criminals, used corrupt serving and former police officers to delete intelligence records from law enforcement databases and access details of police operations. The report has been seen by Channel 4 News Home Affairs Correspondent Andy Davies.
The eight-page report, which has been passed to the Leveson inquiry into police corruption and media ethics, warns of “rogue” private investigators “providing organised crime groups with counter-surveillance techniques” and attempting to discover the identities of informants and witnesses under police protection.
The details in the report entitled “Private Investigators: The Rogue Element of the Private Investigation Industry and Others Unlawfully Trading in Personal Data” have never been disclosed publicly before, because the report is labelled “exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act 2000”.
Soca analysed five UK Law enforcement operations leading up to 30 September 2007. The report says: “Four of the operations provided examples of corrupt individuals including serving and former police officers, a bank employee, employees in a communications service provider, a public service employee, and a HM Prison Service Employee. All of these were used by private investigators to facilitate access to information.”
The former head of anti-corruption at the Met Police, Bob Quick, told Channel 4 News: “There were occasions where cases involved officers removing evidence, destroying evidence.
“This was infrequent but when it occurred it was serious. There were indications that that relationships existed with private investigators and ex-police officers who were suspected of corruption.”
“If police operations against serious criminals are being undermined then that’s very significant for justice and safety in this country.”