Rogue police deleted data at gangs' behest, says report

Police officers allegedly deleted intelligence records from law enforcement databases at the behest of organised criminals, via private investigators, according to a Channel 4 News report.

Police officers allegedly deleted intelligence records from law enforcement databases at the behest of organised criminals, via private investigators, according to a Channel 4 News report.

The Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) produced a confidential report in 2008 which alleged that private investigators had used crooked police officers to perform actions including the deletion of records; accessing details of investigations against criminals; and attempting to discover the identity of informants and the location of witnesses, on behalf of criminals, Channel 4 News said on Thursday.

It was not clear what action had been taken after SOCA passed the 'Private Investigators: The Rogue Element of the Private Investigation Industry and Others Unlawfully Trading in Personal Data' report to the Home Office in 2008, said Channel 4 News.

The Home Office declined to confirm or deny the existence of the report on Friday, and declined to say whether any action had been taken against the alleged rogue officers.

"We're not discussing any kind of report, if there is a report," a Home Office spokesman told ZDNet UK on Friday.

SOCA confirmed the existence of the report, but declined to comment further.

"This report was inappropriately obtained," a SOCA spokeswoman told ZDNet UK.

Channel 4 News obtained the report in the course of the proceedings of the Leveson inquiry into phone hacking and press ethics, it said in its article.

The Metropolitan Police, which has an anti-corruption squad, declined to comment, and directed ZDNet UK to the Association of Chief of Police Officers (ACPO).

ACPO told ZDNet UK that the report had been passed by SOCA to the Home Office in 2008, and directed ZDNet UK back to the Home Office for comment.

Keith Vaz, the chair of the Home Affairs Committee, told Channel 4 News that the committee may have to call former home secretary Jacqui Smith and SOCA representatives before the committee to ask about the deletion of data.