BBC director general Mark Thompson has admitted that the corporation does use private detectives for journalistic purposes.
But he has also said that the draft report of a review of editorial practices at the BBC, commissioned in the wake of the Milly Dowler phone-hacking revelations of July, was “very encouraging”.
The minutes of the 24 October meeting of the BBC Trust have now been published.
“The Director-General said the findings of the review were very encouraging; there was no evidence of phone or computer hacking or bribery. He said the BBC does use private investigators occasionally, most commonly for surveillanceor security services (to ensure the safety of journalists or to check the safety or
carry out a ‘recce’ of a location where filming is taking place) and to obtain the whereabouts or identity of individuals who are the subjects of significant public interest programmes.
“The Director-General said that the review did not suggest there were shortcomings in either the principles or practices in the editorial guidelines and that he would be recommending some changes to the guidelines
or guidance to strengthen these safeguards further.”