HC Deb 14 February 2000 vol 344 cc588-9
4. Mr. Lawrie Quinn (Scarborough and Whitby)

What plans he has to conduct a review of the work of the private detective industry; and if he will make a statement. [108238]

The Minister of State, Home Office (Mr. Paul Boateng)

We have no plans for a review, but we issued a White Paper last year proposing that a new authority be set up to license those who work in private security and to improve standards in the industry. We propose that the scheme should apply to private investigators in due course.

Mr. Quinn

I thank my right hon. Friend for that answer. Will he confirm that the situation in which my constituent Mr. Kelvin Pickup found himself would not occur under the Government's proposals, which I hope they will introduce soon? Private detectives seemed to act as agents provocateurs to try to get Mr. Pickup to conduct certain physical activities that were damaging to his health, because of his forthcoming industrial injuries case. Will my right hon. Friend confirm also that he will closely examine the relationship between private detective agencies and the insurance industry?

Mr. Boateng

My hon. Friend's constituent's case certainly highlights concerns that exist in the industry and stresses the importance of ensuring that the reputable industry is supported by the codes of practice and regulatory mechanisms that we have in mind. We shall certainly bear in mind the importance of ensuring that the industry is well regulated and kept in good order, because it has an important role to fulfil.