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Investigatory Powers: Oversight

Volume 636: debated on Thursday 1 March 2018

On 1 September, the Investigatory Powers Commissioner, Lord Justice Fulford took on responsibility for overseeing the use of investigatory powers by public authorities. This was a significant milestone in the transition to new oversight arrangements under the Investigatory Powers Act 2016.

To enable the Investigatory Powers Commissioner to take on additional oversight functions not covered by his statutory responsibilities, I gave two directions to the Commissioner on 22 August 2017. Issuing these directions forms part of our rigorous intelligence oversight system.

One direction instructed the Commissioner to keep under review compliance with the consolidated guidance on detainees by officers of the security and intelligence agencies, and members of the Armed Forces and employees of the Ministry of Defence so far as they are engaged in intelligence activities. The consolidated guidance sets out the standards that personnel must apply during the detention and interviewing of detainees held by others overseas. The other direction instructed the Commissioner to keep under review the application of the security service guidelines on the use of agents who participate in criminality and the authorisations issued in accordance with them. In accordance with my obligation to publish such directions under section 230 of the Investigatory Powers Act 2016,1 am now depositing in the Libraries a copy of both directions.