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Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000: Codes of Practice

Volume 631: debated on Thursday 16 November 2017

I am today publishing three revised codes of practice for consultation under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000.

The consultation is in relation to the following codes:

The covert surveillance and property interference code of practice

The covert human intelligence sources code of practice

These codes provide guidance on the authorisation of directed surveillance, intrusive surveillance and covert human intelligence sources under part 2 of RIPA, as well as property interference under the Police Act 1997 and Intelligence Services Act 1994. These powers are available to law enforcement and intelligence agencies as well as a number of other public authorities specified under RIPA, for use where necessary and proportionate for purposes such as the prevention or detection of crime, and the protection of national security. The codes reinforce the safeguards provided by the Acts, for the careful and lawful deployment, management and oversight of the powers.

The investigation of protected information code of practice

This code sets out guidance on the use of powers under part 3 of RIPA governing the investigation of protected electronic information, usually in pursuance of a criminal investigation.

The three codes are being updated to reflect changes in the Investigatory Powers Act 2016 which will impact on the use of the powers covered by the codes. In particular the codes reflect the creation of the new Investigatory Powers Commissioner, who has replaced the three existing oversight bodies, the requirement for public authorities to report errors to the commissioner, and the new arrangements for authorisation of equipment interference which will apply in future to some techniques currently authorised under property interference provisions, and be relevant for use of the power under part 3 of RIPA. At the same time the guidance in the codes under part 2 of RIPA are being updated to reflect best practice in authorisation and management of the powers, to strengthen the safeguards relating to handling of confidential or legally privileged material, and to clarify the application of the RIPA framework to online investigation and research.

The consultation will last for six weeks. Copies of the consultation document and draft codes will be placed in the Library of the House. Online versions will be available on the website.