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Police pay millions to mobile companies

Martin Rosenbaum | 09:42 UK time, Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Many questions are being asked about the police investigation into the actions of Damien Green. But here, I suggest, is a new one.

We know the police took his mobile phone. They may well have checked who he's been calling, and who's been calling him. But if they asked his mobile network for help with this, how much are they having to pay for that assistance?

I ask this because by using the Freedom of Information Act the BBC has discovered that last year the police had to pay mobile phone companies over eight million pounds for access to data which could benefit criminal investigations.

The Telecommunications UK Fraud Forum says that the moblle companies have to take on trained experts to help the police in this way, and that needs funding.

However the Tory MP David Davis says: "Companies should have a sense of civic responsibility, and in my view, that means this sort of material should be provided free."

The full details of the replies to the BBC's FOI requests, including a breakdown of how much has paid to the telecoms companies by each police force, are on the Politics Show website.


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