The Government are today publishing new guidance titled “The Principles relating to the detention and interviewing of detainees overseas and the passing and receipt of intelligence relating to detainees”. This will replace the existing “consolidated guidance” and follows a thorough review by Sir Adrian Fulford, the Investigatory Powers Commissioner.
Following my request last June for him to conduct a review, the Commissioner held a public consultation in the autumn and organised a Chatham House event in December 2018 for academics, practitioners and representatives from non-governmental organisations to discuss how the consolidated guidance could be improved. He has also taken into account the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament’s recommendations in their June 2018 detainee report and those of Sir Mark Waller, the then Intelligence Services Commissioner, in his 2016 report on UK relationships with partner counter-terrorism units overseas.
The Government have accepted the Commissioner’s proposed principles in full. It is being published today on gov.uk and copies have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses. The new guidance is being extended to include the National Crime Agency and S015 Metropolitan Police Service and will provide clear direction for UK personnel on their interaction with detainees held by others overseas and the handling of intelligence derived from them. The principles will come into effect from 1 January 2020 once the necessary underlying departmental training and guidance is in place. The consolidated guidance will remain in use until then. The Investigatory Powers Commissioner will continue to oversee and report on its application.
The Government are grateful to the Commissioner for undertaking this review. The new principles will ensure that the United Kingdom continues to lead the field internationally in terms of providing guidance to personnel on intelligence sharing in a manner that protects human rights.
Our policy remains clear: the Government do not participate in, solicit, encourage or condone the use of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment for any purpose.