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Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 (Code of Practice for Surveillance Camera Systems and Specification of Relevant Authorities) Order 2013

Volume 747: debated on Wednesday 17 July 2013

Considered in Grand Committee

Moved by

That the Grand Committee do report to the House that it has considered the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 (Code of Practice for Surveillance Camera Systems and Specification of Relevant Authorities) Order 2013.

Relevant documents: 4th Report from the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments, 6th Report from the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee.

My Lords, the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 (Code of Practice for Surveillance Camera Systems and Specification of Relevant Authorities) Order 2013 and the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 (Guidance on the Making or Renewing of National Security Determinations) Order 2013, along with copies of the attendant surveillance camera code of practice, which I will refer to as the code, and the guidance on the making or renewing of national security determinations, which I will refer to as the guidance, were laid before Parliament on 4 June and 24 June respectively. Both orders are made under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012. This Act delivers important changes to the law, ensuring that we strike the right balance between respecting the rights of individuals and protecting the public, which reflects a key commitment of this Government. I will explain each order in turn.

The first order, on the surveillance camera code of practice, follows on from Section 30 of the 2012 Act and reflects a coalition agreement commitment to the further regulation of CCTV. The Government support the use of CCTV, automatic number plate recognition—ANPR—systems and other surveillance camera systems to cut crime and protect the public. In general terms, the public support their use. However, that support is conditional on these cameras being used proportionately to meet a legitimate aim and being used effectively in meeting their intended purpose. For too long we have seen the use of CCTV and the advance of technology develop without a proper regulatory framework, with ever greater potential for surveillance and ever greater potential to interfere with citizens’ rights and freedoms.

This code seeks to reassure the public about the use of surveillance camera systems and applies to England and Wales. Section 34 requires the appointment of a Surveillance Camera Commissioner, whose role is to encourage compliance with the code, review its operation and provide advice about it. Noble Lords may be aware that the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee has considered this draft order, and the draft code, and has drawn the special attention of the House to these documents on the basis that they may imperfectly achieve policy objectives. My belief is that bringing the code into force will be a critical step in our incremental and measured approach to regulation.

We have worked closely with our partners including the police, local authorities, the Information Commissioner, the Chief Surveillance Commissioner and the Surveillance Camera Commissioner in developing this code. The code is based on 12 guiding principles which are applicable to any overt operation of CCTV in public places. Those who work to these guiding principles will be better placed to reassure the public about their intentions and to share images and information of evidential value with the police and the criminal justice system to help investigate crime and bring criminals to justice. The commissioner will provide additional information which complements the guiding principles and helps system operators turn them into reality.

We have always been clear that our approach to further regulation in this area is to be incremental and measured, starting with state surveillance and getting the basics right, then taking further steps as necessary, informed by advice from the Surveillance Camera Commissioner. This order also exercises powers under Section 33(5)(k) and seeks to add the three non-territorial police forces—the British Transport Police, the Civil Nuclear Constabulary and the Ministry of Defence Police—and the Serious Organised Crime Agency to the list of relevant authorities which will be placed under a duty to have regard to the code from the outset. Each has been consulted over the proposal and each has consented to it. Our intention in expanding the list to additional forces is to provide further assurance to the public that overt surveillance by the state is being effectively and transparently regulated.

I turn to the second order before the Committee today, which brings into force the guidance on the making or renewing of national security determinations as provided for by the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012. This order implements an important element of the Government’s commitment, set out in the coalition’s programme for government, to restore balance between the protection of individuals’ rights and protecting the public in respect of police retention of DNA and fingerprints.

We propose to commence the substantive powers in the 2012 Act from October this year. This will mark an important change. From this point, with the exception of convicted individuals, DNA and fingerprint material will not be held indefinitely. This guidance deals with a limited exception whereby it may be necessary to extend retention for the purposes of national security. We want to ensure that, in exercising their powers to extend retention by the making of a national security determination, chief officers and chief constables are doing so in an open, transparent and consistent way. This guidance seeks to achieve that. The guidance is introduced pursuant to Section 22 of the 2012 Act and is applicable throughout the United Kingdom. It sets out the basic principles underpinning the new powers, specific requirements governing consideration of necessity and proportionality and clear processes for making or renewing a national security determination, including appropriate direction as to the responsibilities of chief officers or chief constables.

The Act establishes for the first time a comprehensive regime for the retention, destruction and use of biometric material held for national security purposes. This regime is to be independently overseen by the new commissioner for the retention and use of biometric material—the Biometrics Commissioner, Mr Alastair MacGregor QC. The retention of biometric data by the state is a justifiable interference with the right under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights where it is necessary and proportionate to do so and where it is in accordance with clearly defined law. The Act’s provisions, coupled with the guidance and the robust independent oversight we rightly and confidently expect from the Biometrics Commissioner, in my view achieves this objective.

We consulted extensively over the preparation of the code and the guidance which are before your Lordships for consideration today. The code and the guidance were published in draft form on 7 February and 26 March respectively for public consultation. There was broad support for these changes. A summary of the consultation responses and resultant changes made for each have been published on the Home Office’s website.

These orders are intended to build and maintain public confidence in both overt surveillance camera activity in public places and in the retention, destruction and use of DNA and fingerprint material held for national security purposes now and in the future. I commend them to the Grand Committee.

My Lords, I will say a few words because this is an area in which I take an interest. In principle, I have no trouble with using surveillance cameras around the place to find out what happened after an event and, in some cases, to anticipate what might happen. The only thing that has ever worried me is when things are linked together to try to surveil and track a population around. From that point of view, ANPR cameras could be used for purposes other than traffic management and could start to be used for tracking people. A lot of that stuff involves data protection, so all this looks fairly innocuous.

The main thing that I am worried about is whether it really does anything. At the end of it all, these are all good words. Are we just adding more cost and stuff than can be more effectively used elsewhere? It looks like we have just invented a couple of extra posts, which will be very nice for someone; it will do a bit more box-ticking so everyone will think that it has all been covered. However, if it starts being really effective, it will interrupt other people’s jobs where they do need cameras, and make them more difficult.

So I am giving a few words of caution: let us not waste public money on something that is merely a cosmetic exercise. At the same time, many of the issues that do matter in this are covered by the Data Protection Act, for instance accurate databases and things like that. So they are already covered elsewhere. Will having an extra commissioner really make a difference? It is obvious that I am sceptical about it. It does not really address the big problem about the surveillance state and things like that, but we do not have that yet, thank goodness.

My Lords, I first thank the noble Lord, Lord Taylor, for his helpful explanations and information. Just prior to the Committee, I indicated to the Minister that we are considering praying against these instruments. I apologise if he was not told beforehand, although the Whips’ Office knows. In future I would talk to them directly. These are important issues.

I want to offer the Minister the opportunity to answer my questions first, because that might alleviate some of my concerns. His answers will be very important in that regard. The noble Earl, Lord Erroll, hit the nail on the head with some of the concerns that I want to raise as well. The Minister referred to our own Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee, which was quite damning about this order’s ability to achieve the objectives that the Government set out. It stated:

“While the principles themselves are commonsense, some of the explanation is vague, with frequently used terms such as ‘proportionate’ or ‘appropriate’ left undefined in the context”.

Those are wise words. I would impress on the Minister the committee’s final comment, which stated:

“The House may therefore wish to question the Minister about the Government's plans for the wider application of the code and to invite the Minister to clarify how its benefits will offset the costs of the additional bureaucracy involved”.

This SI increases costs and bureaucracy to local authorities and the police of installing CCTV. The Explanatory Notes claim that this is a policy decision motivated by a desire to halt,

“the extent to which private lives are exposed to ever greater scrutiny by other individuals, organisations or the State, leading in some instances to a potential exposure to criminality, or more generally, to an erosion of personal privacy”.

That is the point that the noble Earl, Lord Erroll, made. Can the Minister say where in this order is anything that restricts the use of CCTV by individuals or private companies and makes any difference to the potential exposure of criminality that the Government have identified? I am not sure what that means in the context of this order. It may be a government objective, but it is nowhere in this order that I can find, because only public bodies—mainly the police and local authorities—are bound by the order before us today. The consultation and the order will not prohibit the installation of CCTV. What it will do is increase the paperwork and bureaucracy, making it considerably more expensive.

The Government have made a commitment to lean government, and I do not think that it was just a reference to Eric Pickles’s diet when the Chancellor said it. The impact assessment states that this extra flood of bureaucracy is not subject to the Government’s principles of “one in, two out”, in terms of regulation. Why is that? What is the point of having such a policy if the Government can then simply exempt a regulation from it? That makes a complete nonsense of the policy. The Home Secretary said:

“After years of bureaucratic control from Whitehall … this government trusts you to fight crime”,

but apparently not where CCTV is concerned. Here, the Home Office is creating 25 pages of statutory guidance for local authorities to go through—25 pages of hoops for the police to jump through before they can install CCTV.

However, it is not just the document; to compound the issue, the Home Secretary has also created a new bureaucracy in the form of a Surveillance Camera Commissioner at an annual cost of £250,000 a year. When I first read that, I thought that I had slipped back into an episode of “Yes Minister”, with Jim Hacker speaking. You could almost write the script about a Surveillance Camera Commissioner. What is not clear from the order is how the commissioner will ensure adherence to the code. Will the commissioner have any statutory powers to do so? How will the commissioner investigate? Will there be any legal power to surrender CCTV recordings? Will there be any sanctions if people do not comply with the guidance, as outlined in the order? I cannot see any sanctions in it. The code therefore becomes nonsense if there are no powers or sanctions. What is the purpose of the code?

The scrutiny committee asked what the code added to existing powers. That issue has to be addressed, particularly when taking into account the additional cost of about £1.6 million. This is significant. The police budget has been cut by a massive 20% and we are losing 15,000 police officers, the vast majority of whom will be taken from the front line—those on the beat and involved in community safety work. We could end up with the nonsense that in order to use CCTV, police forces have to employ staff to do back-office work to comply with all the bureaucracy while police officers are being lost from the front line. I am convinced that that is not what the Minister wants.

I should make it clear that we are not against oversight. There is a common-sense element in the code of conduct but, as the noble Earl, Lord Erroll, also said, these tasks are already being undertaken. I have no doubt that room can be found for improvement but it seems that this common-sense approach will be replaced by a monstrous paper trail that will include reviews, consultations and technical assessments. From the impact assessment, the cost of all this will be something like £14.1 million a year. The impact assessment also states that that is a best guess. The government readily accept that the cost could be as high as £29 million.

When one considers how onerous the requirements of the code of practice are, £14.1 million might be a conservative estimate. There need to be annual reviews of every CCTV camera and the possible effects on privacy. How will that be done? If guidance is being issued there will be obligations as to how that can be carried out. It would be helpful if the Minister could shed any light on that. All the cameras that we are talking about are those in public places, so there presumably needs to be an assessment of who goes to those public spaces in order to be able to ascertain the effects on their privacy. I cannot see any other way in which that task could be undertaken. Even if the Minister can reassure me that it does not mean that, there needs to be guidance as to exactly what is meant, and the guidance is not clear. Local authorities will produce their own ways of interpreting the guidance and say, “That is what we have to do, so we will not have a CCTV camera”.

Police forces and local authorities have to create teams to provide information about CCTV, at an expected cost of up to £114,000 for each team. There has to be an assessment of all the information being stored, and a lot of it is stored because the police may want the information at a later date if there is any criminal prosecution.

Finally, consideration has to be given to any “operation, technical and competency standards”, with a general principle that all the technology should comply. I am not clear what that means, but perhaps the Minister can help me. Is it intended that through the regulations the local authority or police, at a potentially huge cost, may have to replace equipment not because a force does not think it is working or because a replacement would be cost effective but because the equipment does not match the technical standards created by the Surveillance Camera Commissioner—although we are not yet clear as to what that role is? The commissioner could set standards with which every force must comply and they could then have to change their equipment.

There are good reasons to think that the costs may be even higher than the Government estimate. There are 11 “guiding principles” in the code of conduct, seven of which involve no monetary cost, yet each places bureaucratic obligations on the police. That will be expensive. The impact assessment claims that the cost of complying with the scheme will be found from existing budgets. If the Minister can tell me how, that would be extremely helpful. Were local government and the police specifically consulted on the costs; did they agree that they could meet them from existing budgets; and were they aware of the huge costs involved?

The Minister mentioned SOCA but not the National Crime Agency. My understanding is that SOCA has now been absorbed into the National Crime Agency, and I wonder why SOCA is mentioned but not the NCA. Can the Minister help with that point?

The Government often say that something is cost neutral. That means that it is cost neutral to the Government; the costs are passed further down the line to other organisations, because somebody has to pay for bureaucracy. Is the Minister able to explain where within the existing budgets that money can be found? Whenever I have asked questions in your Lordships’ House about budgets or service cuts for police and local authorities, Ministers say that it is a matter for local government or the police, not for them, and that it is a local decision. Ministers create the conditions that lead to cuts, because Ministers set the budget. If the Government are saying that extra expenditure has to come out of the existing budget, there is an indirect relationship. Although the local police or council may decide what cuts have to be made as a result, the decision has been imposed by government or Ministers. That is not localism, it is evading responsibility. If this order is passed, police and local councils will have no choice but to comply with the additional bureaucracy, and I do not know how they will pay for it.

We are already seeing huge cuts in CCTV. We have seen thousands of street lights being switched off across the country, including in my county, because local authorities cannot afford the increased electricity bills. What use will CCTV be at night if there are no lights on the streets? I shall not go into detail, but Gloria De Piero MP has used freedom of information requests to get some idea of how CCTV has been affected by local authority budget changes and budget cuts. The figures we have relate to public-facing CCTV cameras, not to private property cameras. Craven District Council in North Yorkshire has cut all its CCTV cameras since 2010; in Trafford there has been a 53% cut; in Blackpool it is nearly 50%; and in Bolsover it is 44%. Across the country we are seeing the number of CCTV cameras operated by local authorities being cut, and I cannot see the order before us today making things any easier for local authorities. The huge bureaucracy and paperwork will make things more difficult for local authorities.

The real question is: what is the policy intention behind this? I have read the stated intention, and like the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee I cannot see that what is in the order complies with that policy intention. If it is really to achieve better oversight of CCTV, which we would not necessarily oppose, there is very little in this new regime to deliver that, but is the effect not more likely to be to reduce the number of CCTV cameras across the country? If that is the case, the level of bureaucracy and the cost to local authorities and the police will make it a pretty well designed instrument, because that seems to be the result. I do not think that that is what the public want.

At the beginning of my comments I repeated the question asked by the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee about how the additional benefits will offset the costs. I have treated a number of questions, but that is the key question to the Minister. I listened very carefully to what he said, and he said that this is incremental, measured and proportionate, but I do not think that that is enough of an answer to address the comments made by that committee. If the Minister has more information, I would appreciate hearing it from him today.

The second order refers to biometric information, which is a hugely important issue. The Minister will recall our original concerns about the changes that the Government are introducing in relation to holding DNA evidence. There was a long debate in your Lordships' House, and I do not intend to repeat those debates today. The Protection of Freedoms Bill was introduced into Parliament in February 2011; it got Royal Assent on 1 May 2012, yet over a year later the Government are only now taking legal steps to provide the guidance needed on holding biometric materials such as DNA evidence and fingerprints, allowing for an extension if it is in the interests of national security. I do not understand why that has taken so long, given the implications for national security. There is nothing more important for any Government than to secure the safety and security of their citizens. Why has it taken so long, and what are the implications of that delay?

The current position is that biometric evidence, however vital it may be in fighting crime and protecting security, must be destroyed after it has been held for three years, if the person is not convicted or charged with an offence. Yet it is possible to keep it for longer if the law enforcement agencies are of the view that it is in the interests of national security to do so. The guidance to give effect to that is before us today and has taken some time to reach us. I fully understand and accept the point that such technical and important guidance must be fit for purpose. However, the Government have known about the need for such provision since February 2011, so it is hardly a surprise that we would have to have such guidance.

I have three key questions other than the one that I have just asked. What system has been in place until now for applying for an extension to hold biometric data for longer? The Minister will know from previous debates on the Bill addressed in the Intelligence and Security Committee that national security relies on bringing evidence together from various different sources, places and times—so it is a bit of a jigsaw that has to be put together. Since this provision came in, there must have been cases in which data held may have been older than three years, so what process has been used? Have there been any applications to extend beyond the three years? I am told that there have not been any, but I find that quite startling, and if the Minister could confirm that or give me further information it would be really helpful. That has huge implications for public safety since Royal Assent on 1 May last year. If there were any applications, how many were successful—or how many records have been destroyed since 1 May 2012 because this guidance was not in place? There are serious implications to those questions, and I will probably get standard number-crunching answers from the Minister, but it would be very helpful in understanding the implications of the impact of this order.

My Lords, I am very grateful to the noble Earl, Lord Erroll, for his contribution and for that of the noble Baroness, Lady Smith. It is the first time that we have had the chance to debate these issues, and some of the questions that she asks me arise because we have not had a chance to discuss these matters before. I am pleased to be able to seek to answer her uncertainty about these measures.

I have to say to the noble Earl that this is not a cosmetic measure; it is not designed as a patch, to cover something up. The recent report of the British Security Industry Association made it clear that there are a very large number of cameras in this country, and these measures will apply to just 2% of the cameras in place, because the vast majority are in commercial premises or private situations.

One feature of the current surveillance apparatus that we have in this country, which is extensive, is the relatively random way in which it has developed and the lack of quality assurance that exists within it. The whole focus of this code—and Andrew Rennison and I had a meeting today about his work in overseeing it—is going to be on improving the effectiveness of surveillance. An awful lot of cameras can take an image which is then of little or no evidential value because the camera systems have been installed to improve public confidence but do not necessarily provide images which can be used in the fight against crime. This is one of the purposes of the code of practice and the appointment of the Surveillance Camera Commissioner.

I have to say that, untypically, the noble Baroness exercised a degree of hyperbole on this issue. That is rather out of character as I usually agree with her view on issues and think that she sees them clearly. However, in this case she appears to have become confused about the cost and efficiency of the measure and its objectives, which are, after all, to protect the privacy and rights of our citizens in a public place where surveillance cameras operate. I think it is reasonable that public authorities utilising cameras in public places are placed under an obligation to ensure that those cameras are used properly, that the images are used for the purposes for which they were designed and not used improperly, and that there is a responsibility to ensure that these things are effective. If the noble Baroness wonders why this does not apply to the conventional “one in, two out” regulatory reforms, it is because this concerns not business but state institutions—local authorities and the police—and they are not included in this policy area.

The noble Baroness asked about the cost of the commissioner. The figure of £250,000 is the cost that the previous Administration identified for an interim CCTV regulator. The commissioner will encourage, advise and enable systems operators to use CCTV more effectively and proportionately to protect the public. Those words have meaning. I do not believe that “proportionately” does not have a meaning; it clearly does. The Home Office will take an early and visible lead—

I am sorry to interrupt the noble Lord and am grateful to him for giving way. However, he said that I asked about the cost of the commissioner. I did not do so as I referred to that matter in my comments. What I was asking about were the powers of the commissioner and how they could be enforced, not the cost.

The powers are clearly laid out in the instrument which places those bodies identified under a statutory obligation to comply with the code. That is what the statutory instrument is about. Those are the powers of the commissioner and his power is, of course, to see that the code is enforced by those public authorities so affected.

As I say, the Home Office will take an early and visible lead in the voluntary adoption of the code and, along with the Surveillance Camera Commissioner, will show how working with the 12 guiding principles can help build and maintain public confidence. Along with the Surveillance Camera Commissioner, we will be raising awareness of the code and its guiding principles. There will be practical advice on how to apply those principles so that where CCTV is needed it is effective in meeting its purpose. Maintaining public confidence is in itself an incentive for voluntary adoption. Not to adopt the code will be to risk reputational damage by appearing to be unwilling to engage with the public or to follow good practice.

The number of cameras is not really the issue. The BSIA’s recent report was clear that the issue is whether the cameras have the ability to meet their purpose and adhere to legal requirements.

The additional costs—the noble Baroness may care to take notice of this—incurred by a local authority are estimated to be on average £2,000 a year, and on average £23,000 for a police force. These are modest costs and are expected to bring the benefits of better quality images and help in investigating crime and bringing criminals to justice and greater public confidence. Placing a monetary value on these benefits cannot be done easily, as I think that the noble Baroness accepted, and yet they are important.

The Surveillance Camera Commissioner plans to generate a self-assessment test, which will be a speedy and efficient mechanism for an organisation—or a business in the case of voluntary adoption of the code—to assess whether it is complying with the code. This will be faster than digesting the code in its entirety and will help to demystify the principles in the code and any technical terminology used. There is no mandatory requirement to replace an existing system but organisations will be encouraged to work to approved operational and occupational standards. This can be done by better use of the existing resources. So I have focused once again on the effectiveness of the systems in delivering what is needed.

CCTV and ANPR are used in a variety of settings for a variety of purposes. Therefore, if some of the definitions are vague and general rather than specific, that is because the code does not contain a detailed, prescriptive and one-size-fits-all guidance which defines every circumstance. Some may regard it as vague but it is a matter for operators to assess necessity and proportionality when using CCTV and ANPR, and to then test their judgment with the public and their partners. This code and the Surveillance Camera Commissioner will provide a framework within which they can exercise their discretion to do so.

The commissioner will provide advice on approved operational, technical and competency standards. He is already meeting with relevant certified accreditation bodies to explore a formal certification scheme for CCTV. In addition, he is developing a self-assessment template, as I have said, to help system operators to assess compliance and to follow the code.

The noble Baroness asked about SOCA. Currently, of course, when Ministers say SOCA they mean the National Crime Agency, which will be its successor. I can demonstrate to her how public authorities have viewed the establishment of the CCTV and surveillance commissioner and his role by the response of authorities such as SOCA and, for that matter, the non-territorial police forces which have been pleased to sign up to this code. They can see the huge advantages of being part of a group of law enforcement agencies that receive the support and technical assistance of the commissioner and the reassurance that the commissioner’s appointment offers.

The noble Baroness also asked about the mechanism for enforcing compliance with the code. Perhaps I may explain. Local authorities and the police will be under a duty to have regard to the code when exercising their functions. The SI will place a statutory duty on them. When a local authority or police force fails to do so, it will be vulnerable to judicial review for a breach of that statutory duty. The possibility of being subject to such a legal challenge will incentivise local authorities and the police to adhere to that statutory duty.

Before I go on, I shall talk about DNA and the noble Baroness’s comments in that area. This is complex legislation, as she will appreciate, and considerable work has been carried out to date to prepare the relevant systems and to consult law enforcement authorities. Having made the policy decision, we undertook a full public consultation and carefully considered the responses before we brought this guidance forward. I am satisfied that it is in time and is specifically designed to address the concerns that the noble Baroness raised.

The noble Baroness particularly asked about the current legislative framework against which decisions have been made. The current legislative regime whereby material is held by the police and other law enforcement authorities is still in effect. There have been no applications to extend the retention period on national security grounds and no material has been destroyed as a result of not extending the time period on those grounds. There have been no applications, but the framework has not ceased to exist.

I am sure that the noble Earl, Lord Erroll, will be pleased to hear that under guiding principles one and two we are clear that the use of CCTV or ANPR must be in pursuit of a legitimate aim and meet a pressing need and must take account of privacy, which, as I have tried to emphasise, is the countervailing balance that this code is designed to reconcile. These first principles establish the need for surveillance and reassure the public that it is necessary.

The Government’s intention is to give communities confidence that camera systems are used to meet a legitimate aim, that they are necessary and proportionate —words which noble Lords will fully understand—and that they are used effectively to meet a stated purpose. The vast majority of systems are operated privately. However, local authorities and the police are key organisations in ensuring the safety and security of our public places—which is where the code is initially focused—and therefore have a significant interest in the use of CCTV. That is why the starting point of our journey of incremental and measured regulation is to place them under a duty to have regard to the code. CCTV is used in a wide variety of settings for a wide variety of purposes. Therefore, the code does not contain detailed, prescriptive, one-size-fits-all guidance which attempts to define every circumstance. Some may regard this as vague, but it is for operators to assess necessity and proportionality when using CCTV and then to test their judgment with the public and partners. This code will help them do so.

In this complex and challenging arena we have always been clear that our approach to regulation will be incremental and measured. Andrew Rennison characterised this as taking small but practical steps, and I am sure that that is a strategy that the noble Baroness will endorse. We are taking action to reassure the public and as a driver of public standards. We in government remain committed to ensuring that, where the powers which these orders seek are granted, they are necessary, proportionate and transparent and, crucially, that their use goes hand in hand with respect for our long-held individual rights and freedoms. Both the orders before the Committee today go to the very heart of that matter, and I commend them to the Committee.

My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister, who has sought to address the points that I have made. However, I am not convinced that he has addressed them all. I am still unclear on the point, which he did not answer, on the enforcement or monitoring powers of the Surveillance Camera Commissioner. He said that it was a statutory duty on local authorities or the police, so the fear of judicial review would ensure that they carry this out. My experience of local authorities is that the fears of the cost of judicial review often lead them not to take an action that they would otherwise take. My fear would be that the costs of a judicial review—and there are 12 principles under which they could be judicially reviewed—could lead a number of local authorities to say that they will just not bother with this because it is too much effort.

I am disappointed that the Minister described what I think are genuine concerns as hyperbole. The place to question such issues is your Lordships' House; that is our role, as well as scrutiny. I am sorry that the Minister was unhappy with that position.

On the final order, the Minister said that there have been no applications to destroy biometric information, and none had been destroyed. Can I take it that that means that there have been none over three years old? Those are a couple of points that were not raised. I shall take this back and read the Hansard to see from what has been said whether my points have been addressed.

Motion agreed.