Home Affairs Committee Meeting - Summary
WAPI GC Members attended the Home Affairs Committee's Conference on Private Investigators
On Monday 14th May 2012, WAPI GC members attended Portcullis House, Bridge Street, London, SW1A 2LW to represent the WAPI Membership in relation to the talks on licensing within the Private Investigation industry. The seminar was attended by approximately 60 people and chaired by the Rt Hon Keith Vaz. Mr Vaz opened the seminar and was most interested in all activities. He was very approachable and happy to listen to our comments.
There were various speakers at the seminar including a BBC presenter, Jill
Robinson who had been harassed by a Private Investigator who was hired by the Scientology Church in late 1990, giving details of the case.
Also present was the Channel 4 producer of 'Watching the Detectives', Paul
Woolwich a programme which aired that evening at 8pm. That gave details on how their undercover investigation had evidence of investigators obtaining personal information illegally.
Former Information Commissioner, Richard Thomas CBE gave the committee details of his 2006 report, where he stated that there was evidence of wide spread illegal actives, and commented on how he felt a custodial sentence should be appropriate for breach of s55 of the data protection act.
During a question and answer session, there were various people who put
across their views, including Ian Walker, Chris Brogan, Tony Imossi, Richard Newman, our Vice Chairman Tony Smith and our Lady Chairman.
Our Vice Chairman had to correct the committee on a misleading statement earlier in the seminar, made by Mr Tony Imossi, president of the ABI.
Richard Newman former president of the ABI, stated that the Information Commissioner should target those who wanted illegal information i.e. the customer. He also said that in the event of licensing that it should be an offence to engage an unlicensed investigator. Further that the criminal and civil judges when presented with evidence should ask where it had come from and if it had not come from a licensed investigator they should be mindful if they would accept it or not.
There was also a demonstration of surveillance equipment by Gerry Hall of
IPS. When asked by Richard Thomas on "data" recording Mr Hall stated that equipment was available but was most expensive. Mr Hall was trying to demonstrate to the committee the wide range of surveillance equipment available to both private investigators and the general public. He added that his company did not supply such equipment, but that it was purchased so they could use as test pieces for their de-bugging services.
Mr Vaz thanked everyone for attending and for their comments. He stated
that the outcome of the enquiry would be complete and their recommendation would be to put forward by mid July 2012 on the recommendations as to licensing. He has asked however that our members and e-group members provide their thoughts on licensing to assist with his decision. Any comments need to be directed to the General Secretary via email@example.com.
Category: Industry News