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Volume 479: debated on Monday 29 September 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many unauthorised surveillances were discovered by the Office of Surveillance Commissioners in each of the last five years. (223294)

[holding answer 10 September 2008]: Covert surveillance activities which are unlikely to result in the obtaining of private information about a person do not require authorisation under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 and figures for these operations are not obtained by the OSC.

Since 2004-05, law enforcement agencies have been required to report to the Chief Surveillance Commissioner “all covert operations in which statutory requirements have not been observed and also cases which fail in court on account of defects in covert surveillance”. Figures for these have been published in the last two annual reports, covering 2006-07 and 2007-08, and are 67 and 56 respectively.