Police paying huge bills to phone firms
Mobile phone companies charging thousands to help Kent Police solve crimes
mobile phone records during inquiries to check when suspects and others have made calls or sent texts. The evidence can help lead to successful prosecutions across a range of offences.
Details are provided to all police forces when requested but under legislation, mobile phone companies are entitled to claim back the costs of any work they do.
The money ultimately comes from the taxpayer because it is taken out of the police budget.
Kent Labour MP Gwyn Prosser, who is a member of the Home Affairs select com- mittee, said companies should not be allowed to recover anything more than their basic costs.
“Bearing in mind that it is the Government that gives the licences for mobile phone companies, I think they would be very wise to consider their policies in terms of charging police forces for what is a public service. If there is any suggestion that they are profiteering, that would be entirely wrong.
“The licences they have are not open-ended and I am sure that when the Government comes to reallocate them, this is an issue they will consider.”
Ann Barnes, chairman of Kent Police Authority, said: “We are aware that Kent Police uses a range of technology to aid investigations.
“The use of mobile phone data can be vital in helping to solve crime and the cost associated with this is outweighed by the benefits.
“However, this does come at a price.
“If mobile phone companies were able to strike an arrangement with the force and authority then this would be great news.
“Thousands of pounds each year would be freed up for investment elsewhere.”