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Investigatory Powers Oversight

Volume 653: debated on Thursday 31 January 2019

I have today laid before both Houses a copy of the annual report of the Investigatory Powers Commissioner, Lord Justice Sir Adrian Fulford. The report covers the year 2017, including the establishment of the Investigatory Powers Commissioner’s Office (IPCO) under the Investigatory Powers Act 2016, and the work of Sir Adrian’s predecessors: the Intelligence Services Commissioner, the Interception of Communications Commissioner, and the Chief Surveillance Commissioner.

Overall, this report demonstrates that the security and intelligence agencies, law enforcement agencies and other relevant public authorities show high levels of operational compliance and respect for the law. The report also sets out the breadth and complexity of the powers covered by the 2016 Act and other legislation, and offers constructive criticism on the practical framework and individual instances of how these are used.

Further to section 234 of the 2016 Act, the Commissioner has also submitted to me a confidential annex to the report, dealing with the work of the security and intelligence agencies and the Ministry of Defence. I agree with the Commissioner’s assessment that publication of the information contained within this annex would be prejudicial to national security and not in the public interest.

I would like to thank the current and previous Commissioners, and their staff, for their important work. I am also grateful to the security and intelligence agencies, Government Departments, and civil society organisations which have helped to establish IPCO.

I commend this report to the House.

Copies of the report have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.