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Departmental Surveillance

Volume 480: debated on Monday 6 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many applications (a) his Department and (b) its agencies have made under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 to (i) undertake directed surveillance, (ii) use covert human intelligence sources, (iii) acquire communications data and (iv) undertake intrusive surveillance in the last 24 months. (222139)

Figures on public authority use of covert techniques controlled by the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (‘RIPA’) are published annually by the Interception of Communications Commissioner, the Chief Surveillance Commissioner and the Intelligence Services Commissioner who each have particular inspection and oversight responsibilities under RIPA. The latest reports were laid before Parliament and copies placed in the House Library on 22 July.

The figures provided in the reports are not broken down by individual public authority use of specific covert technique as, depending on the particular technique and authority using it, this could either reveal sensitivities or be misleading. The question of further disclosure for any particular public authority is a matter for the relevant Commissioner.