The PCC said this morning that it is “resolute in its determination to ensure future good practice in the industry” following new revelations made by Panorama last night about the use by tabloids illegal means to obtain information.
In January the commission created the Phone Hacking Review Committee to consider the issues raised around phone-hacking and to make recommendations.
Last night’s Panorama made revelations about the Mirror and Sunday Mirror using Southern Investigations to access the bank accounts of members of the Royal Family in 1999. And of the News of the World apparently using the agency in 2006 to hack the email account of a former British army intelligence officer.
The PCC said in a statement the purpose of its Review Committee will be to “draw together lessons learned as a result of the outcomes of the relevant police inquiries and ongoing legal actions. It will also consider the outcome of the current internal inquiry of the News of the World.”
The Phone Hacking Review Committee comprises: Ian Walden, Professor of Information and Communications Law, Queen Mary University of London; Julie Spence, former chief constable of Cambridgeshire Police and John McLellan, editor of the Scotsman.
The PCC statement continued: ‘It is important to make clear that like phone-hacking, computer-hacking is a criminal offence, and of course the commission condemns it. It has also been consistently clear that it is not the role of the PCC (or within its powers) to duplicate the investigations of the police, or to establish criminality.
‘However, its role is to work to raise standards in the industry, and it is committed to take this opportunity (at the conclusion of the relevant processes) to do so in this area.”