Skip to main content

Reports of the Chief Surveillance, Interception of Communications, and Intelligence Services Commissioners

Volume 530: debated on Thursday 30 June 2011

I have today laid before both Houses the annual reports of the former Intelligence Services Commissioner, the Rt. Hon. Sir Peter Gibson (HC 1240), the Interception of Communications Commissioner, the Rt. Hon. Sir Paul Kennedy (HC 1239) and the Chief Surveillance Commissioner, the Rt. Hon. Sir Christopher Rose (HC 1111).

The responsibility of the Commissioners is to provide independent oversight of the use of the investigative powers contained in the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, the Intelligence Services Act 1994 and the Police Act 1997. They play a vitally important role in ensuring that public authorities make use of these powers in a way which is necessary, for a legitimate aim and also proportionate to what is sought to be achieved. They are required under the provisions of the legislation to provide an annual report to me with respect to the carrying out of their functions.

All three Commissioners have concluded that these powers are being used properly and appropriately, in accordance with the requirements set out in statute and that respective Secretaries of State and the various members of the intelligence services, police and law enforcement authorities and other public authorities are properly complying with the duties set out in the legislation. They consider that the public authorities concerned are undertaking their work with diligence and in accordance with the law. There have, regrettably, been breaches and errors. However, these have been relatively few in number and in all cases they were caused by procedural or technical problems that have since been addressed.

I am grateful to Sir Peter, Sir Paul and Sir Christopher and to the inspectors and staff which support them, for their work on these reports—which taken together represent a significant increase in the transparency and oversight of these intrusive powers.