By Georgie Keate
Private investigators are likely to face new restrictions after the profession was targeted by an influential committee of MPs.
A report by the home affairs committee demands a code of conduct and rules to sever their relationship with the police.
"The phone-hacking scandal has thrown light on the sometimes shady world of private investigators," committee chair, Keith Vaz said.
"We have found that rogue investigators are the brokers in a black market in information. They illegally snoop on our data, cash in on our private lives and only get away with a paltry fine."
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) will take control over investigations that look into allegations of police corruption involving private detectives.
"It is time for the link between private investigators and our police forces to be broken," Vaz declared.
As a result, police officers will have to cool off for a year before becoming private investigators.
Under a code of conduct, private investigators who get caught breaking the rules would be banned from operating or heavily penalised.
"The report highlights the involvement of some private investigators in an illegal market in personal data and calls again on the government to act urgently," Vaz said..