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Councils’ £1m bill for private detectives

The Telegraph has reported that UK local councils have spent £1million hiring private detectives to spy on people in the past five years.

Information obtained via a Freedom of Information (FoIA) request, reveals that one third of the largest councils have used private detectives to spy on people claiming compensation for accidents, those suspected of benefit fraud and families involved in care proceedings. Former council staff, suspected of theft, have also been monitored at the taxpayers’ cost.

The FoIA request revealed Nottinghamshire council spent £60,000 on private eyes, while Croydon spent £30,000 gathering evidence in fraud and anti–social neighbour cases.

Kirklees council spent £2,050 to spy on one of its own employees’ activity at work. Leeds spent £25,000 spying on families involved in care proceedings.

Furthermore, the Telegraph states: “Westminster hired private detectives at a cost of £600 to find out if a family was homeless, while Walsall spent £4,500 to see if a father had moved back in with his son and partner”.

Director at campaign group Big Brother Watch, Nick Pickles, has said: “spying on residents in such a manner is intrusive and inappropriate.”

13% of 2011 drink driving charges made against ‘morning after’ motorists.

A Freedom of Information (FoIA) request made by the company Autoglass has revealed that, nationally, 13% of those arrested for drink-driving last year were caught between 5am and 12 noon- usually the morning after alcohol consumption.

Reported in the Press Association, the FoIA request was made to 26 of Britain’s 43 police forces, who in turn released data revealing: “In total, these forces made 39,259 drink-drive arrests last year, with 5,049 of these taking place between 5am and 12 noon. Of those arrested in the period December 24 2011 to January 1 2012, 15% were caught in the seven hours up to 12 noon.

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