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Covert Surveillance/Covert Human Intelligence Sources

Volume 575: debated on Thursday 13 February 2014

I am today announcing the publication of the Government’s consultation on the covert surveillance and the covert human intelligence source codes of practice. The regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) contains a requirement for codes of practice to guide those who use the powers for which the Act provides.

The majority of the proposals to update the codes of practice are as a consequence of the regulation of Investigatory Powers (Covert Human Intelligence Sources: Relevant Sources) Order 2013 which I laid on 31 October 2013 and which came into force on 1 January 2014. In addition, there are a number technical or other amendments which provide greater clarity for those authorising and using covert techniques.

RIPA and its associated codes of practice have greatly improved control and oversight of the way public authorities use covert investigatory techniques, in order to protect our right to privacy. The proposed changes will promote the highest standards of professionalism and excellence in this most sensitive aspect of law enforcement.

The consultation will last for six weeks, during which time the Home Office will actively engage with partners. Copies of the consultation will be placed in the House Library. An online version of this consultation will be available at: consultations/covert-surveillance