C4 exposé prompts probe into Royal Mail

Dispatches exposed credit card theft

The Royal Mail is being investigated by regulatory body Postcomm, after last week’s Channel 4 undercover documentary exposed theft, fraud and incompetence within the organisation.

The episode of the current affairs series Dispatches, which was the culmination of a six-month investigation, showed lazy workers, incompetent managers and a gang of credit card thieves operating in Royal Mail.

Now, in addition to the company’s internal probe into its workforce following the broadcast, Postcomm is investigating Royal Mail to ascertain whether it has breached the terms of its operating licence.

A Postcomm spokesman said: “Royal Mail’s licence requires it to have effective mail protection procedures.

The Dispatches programme suggests Royal Mail is not applying those procedures properly – at least in London. Postcomm will make further enquiries and if Royal Mail has failed to meet its licence obligations, we will take appropriate action.”

Royal Mail has requested unseen footage of the documentary to bolster its own disciplinary action.

“Disciplinary investigations involving a number of individuals” were underway, it said.

After the programme was aired, chief executive Adam Crozier said: “Procedures and practices in the letters business will be reviewed at board level and any necessary improvement action will be taken.”

Royal Mail approached David Henshaw, executive producer of the programme and founder of Hardcash Productions, which produced the Dispatches episode, but he insisted the company must guarantee the anonymity of the undercover journalist who infiltrated the credit card gang.

The programme featured the journalist talking to and filming a Nigerian postal worker about the gang’s operations.

Speaking about the reaction to the programme, Henshaw told Press Gazette: “You always know when you’ve hit a big popular nerve. I think there is a huge groundswell of rage out there against what people know to be the truth, as opposed to the massaging of modern public relations.”

Consumer organisation Postwatch commended Channel 4 and Hardcash, saying: “The beneficial impact of the programme should not be overestimated.”

By Wale Azeez

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