Belfast Telegraph

Big Brother police costs revealed

Watching Big Brother has cost police almost £700 after a former detective entered the house who was involved in the investigation into serial sex offender Jimmy Savile.

Ex-police officer Dan Neal joined the Channel 5 show a day after the Metropolitan Police warned the broadcaster of the dangers of putting him on screen.

The Met said the estimated cost of reviewing the programme was £673.

The police released the figure in response to a freedom of information request asking for a breakdown of the costs incurred by directing officers to watch the show over concerns that details of live investigations might be broadcast.

The Met said: "The estimated cost to review Big Brother is £673.00 (as at 17/07/2013) based on overtime costs and amendments in working hours. No further overtime costs are anticipated to be experienced."

Scotland Yard contacted the station after details first emerged about Dan's previous career and his work on Operation Yewtree, the investigation into Savile.

It said it had made the broadcaster aware of "potential risks" to ongoing police investigations and reminded the company of its "responsibility".

When news of Dan's appearance on Big Brother surfaced in June, a Scotland Yard spokesman said: "We are aware of reports concerning the proposed media appearance of a former detective constable.

"We have been in contact with Channel 5 and made them fully aware of potential risks and their responsibility to live investigations.

"All officers joining the MPS and leaving the MPS are required to sign the Official Secrets Act."

At the time, a Channel 5 spokesman said: "Channel 5 takes its obligations as a broadcaster seriously and, as has been made clear to New Scotland Yard today, extensive procedures are in place to ensure that nothing will be broadcast during the course of Big Brother which would involve the former police officer breaching confidentiality, invading the privacy of others, committing libel or a contempt of court."

Before entering the house, Dan told the Daily Star he thought his appearance might "cause a stir" within the police, but did not believe it would shame the service.

"I don't see why it would," he said. "It's not like I'm going into some porno industry."

On the Channel 5 website, Dan is described as a "hunky gay police officer" in his Big Brother profile. The profile said: "Dan has been a police officer for 10 years. He admits it can be draining at times and sometimes really upsetting but he has enjoyed it because he is making a difference.

"He says it is satisfying to catch the people that have done bad things and see them get sentenced."

Dan was evicted from the Big Brother house on July 26.

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