Po­lice pay­ing huge bills to phone firms

Mo­bile phone com­pa­nies charg­ing thou­sands to help Kent Po­lice solve crimes

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Countryfile -

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.”

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