Clause 1 - Authorisation of criminal conduct

Part of Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill – in the House of Commons at 1:04 pm on 15th October 2020.

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Photo of Nigel Evans Nigel Evans Deputy Speaker (Second Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means) 1:04 pm, 15th October 2020

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

Amendment 7, page 2, line 7, at end insert—

“(1A) The granting of criminal conduct authorisations under subsection (1) may not take place until a warrant has been issued by a judge.

(1B) An application to a judge under subsection (1A) shall be made in writing and be accompanied by an affidavit of the person granting the criminal conduct authorisation which sets out—

(a) the facts relied on to justify the belief, on reasonable grounds, that a warrant under this section is required;

(b) the persons or classes of persons to whom the warrant is proposed to be directed;

(c) a general description of the place where the warrant is proposed to be executed, if a general description of that place can be given;

(d) the period, not exceeding sixty days or one year, as the case may be, for which the warrant is requested to be in force; and

(e) any previous application made under subsection (1A) in relation to a person who is identified in the application for the warrant, the date on which each such application was made, the name of the judge to whom it was made and the judge’s decision on it.”

Amendment 25, page 2, line 7, at end insert—

“(1A) Authorisations granted under this section require approval in accordance with section 29C.”

Amendment 14, page 2, line 16, after “person” insert “reasonably”.

This amendment would raise the standard for granting a criminal conduct authorisation from believing that it is necessary and proportionate to reasonably believing that it is necessary and proportionate.

Amendment 11, page 2, line 20, at end leave out “; and” and insert “, taking into account—

(i) balancing the size and scope of the proposed activity against the gravity and extent of the perceived crime or harm;

(ii) explaining how and why the methods to be adopted will cause the least possible intrusion on the subject and others;

(iii) whether the conduct to be authorised will have any implications for the privacy of others, and an explanation of why (if relevant) it is nevertheless proportionate to proceed with the operation;

(iv) evidence, as far as reasonably practicable, of what other methods had been considered and why they were not implemented, or have been implemented unsuccessfully; and

(v) whether the activity is an appropriate use of the legislation and a reasonable way, having considered all reasonable alternatives, of obtaining the information sought; or”.

Amendment 1, page 2, line 22, at end insert—

“(d) that the authorisation does not have a disproportionate impact on people with one or more protected characteristics within the meaning of the Equality Act 2010.”

This amendment ensures that discrimination on the grounds of protected characteristics will be taken into account before the granting of a criminal conduct authorisation.

Amendment 3, page 2, line 26, leave out “or of preventing disorder”.

Amendment 23, page 2, line 27, leave out from “disorder” to end of line 29.

Amendment 4, page 2, line 28, leave out paragraph (c).

Amendment 15, page 2, line 29, after “Kingdom” insert “so far as those interests are also relevant to the interests of national security”.

This would only allow a criminal conduct authorisation to be granted on economic grounds if it is relevant to national security.

Amendment 5, page 2, line 29, at end insert—

“(5A) A criminal conduct authorisation cannot be granted with regard to the actions of a covert human intelligence source within trade unions.

(5B) In this section, ‘trade unions’ is defined as in the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992.”

Amendment 6, page 2, line 29, at end insert—

“(5A) A criminal conduct authorisation cannot be granted with regard to the actions of a covert human intelligence source engaged in blacklisting.”

Amendment 10, page 2, line 29, at end insert—

“(5A) The circumstances in which a criminal conduct authorisation is necessary on grounds specified in subsection (5)(c) may not include the activities of trade unions.”

Amendment 13, page 2, line 36, at end insert—

“(7B) The following conduct may never be authorised by a criminal conduct authorisation—

(a) causing death or serious bodily harm to a person;

(b) obstructing, perverting or interfering with the course of justice;

(c) violating the sexual integrity of a person;

(d) torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;

(e) detention; or

(f) causing the loss of, or any serious damage to, any property if doing so would endanger the safety of a person.

(7C) Subsection (7B) shall not prevent—

(a) a decision not to prosecute in the public interest; or

(b) the entry of a nolle prosequi.”

Amendment 8, page 3, line 2, at end insert—

“(8A) Nothing in this section justifies—

(a) causing, intentionally or by criminal negligence, death or bodily harm to an individual;

(b) wilfully attempting in any manner to obstruct, pervert or defeat the course of justice;

(c) violating the sexual integrity of an individual;

(d) subjecting an individual to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, within the meaning of the Convention Against Torture;

(e) detaining an individual; or

(f) causing the loss of, or any serious damage to, any property if doing so would endanger the safety of an individual.”

Amendment 22, page 3, line 2, at end insert—

“(8A) A criminal conduct authorisation may not authorise any criminal conduct—

(a) intentionally causing death or grievous bodily harm to an individual or being reckless as to whether such harm is caused;

(b) involving an attempt in any manner to obstruct or pervert the course of justice;

(c) amounting to an offence under the Sexual Offences Act 2003, the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009 or any offence listed in Schedule 3 to the Sexual Offences Act 2003;

(d) subjecting an individual to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, within the meaning of Article 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 1 to the Human Rights Act 1998; or

(e) depriving a person of their liberty, within the meaning of Article 5 of Part 1 of Schedule 1 to the Human Rights Act 1998.”

Amendment 2, page 3, line 9, at end insert—

“(9A) The Investigatory Powers Commissioner or any affected person may apply for judicial review, in relation to the conduct of a relevant public authority.

(9B) For the purposes of subsection (1), a ‘relevant public authority’ are those set out in section 2(9) of the Act.”

This amendment ensures that the granting of criminal conduct authorisations are subject to judicial review.

Amendment 18, page 3, line 16, at end insert—

“(11) A criminal conduct authorisation will not have effect unless and until the authorisation has been shared with—

(a) the Crown Prosecution Service, in respect of a criminal conduct authorisation relating to conduct taking place in England & Wales;

(b) the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, in respect of a criminal conduct authorisation relating to conduct taking place in Scotland; or

(c) the Public Prosecution Service, in respect of a criminal conduct authorisation relating to conduct taking place Northern Ireland.”

This amendment will ensure that prosecutors can review crimes authorised under this Bill.

Amendment 26, page 3, line 16, at end insert—

“(11) Nothing in this section permits or authorises any criminal conduct by a covert human intelligence source in relation to investigation of any lawful activity by a member of the House of Commons, who has sworn or affirmed the oath prescribed by the Parliamentary Oaths Act 1866, or of the House of Lords, in the conduct of that member’s parliamentary or representative duties unless—

(a) the criminal conduct by the covert human intelligence source has been personally authorised by the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State, and

(b) the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State have each made a written declaration that the proposed criminal conduct by the covert human intelligence source in relation to the member of Parliament concerned is both proportionate and necessary in order to preserve national security.

(12) The Secretary of State may by regulations make parallel provision to subsection (10) in respect of members of Senedd Cymru, the Northern Ireland Assembly and the Scottish Parliament.”

Clause stand part.

Amendment 16, in clause 2, page 4, line 9, leave out from “services” to end of line 23.

This amendment would restrict the authorities that can grant criminal conduct authorisations to police forces, the National Crime Agency, the Serious Fraud Office and the intelligence services.

Clause 2 stand part.

Clause 3 stand part.

Amendment 12, in clause 4, page 5, line 4, at end insert—

“(4ZA) Those persons who have granted criminal conduct authorisations must inform the Investigatory Powers Commissioner within seven days of the granting of the authorisation.”

Clause 4 stand part.

Clause 5 stand part.

Clause 6 stand part.

Clause 7 stand part.

New clause 1—Redress for innocent victims—

“(1) Section 65 (5) of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (The Tribunal) is amended in accordance with subsection (2).

(2) At the end of subsection (5) insert—

‘(g) any conduct under Section 29B.’”

This new clause ensures that innocent victims are able to seek redress from the Investigatory Powers Tribunal.

New clause 2—Equality Impact Assessment

“(1) The Secretary of State must prepare and publish an annual equality impact assessment on the use of criminal conduct authorisations on covert operations involving women, children and Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.

(2) A Minister of the Crown must, not later than three months after the report has been laid before Parliament, make a motion in the House of Commons in relation to the report.”

New clause 3—Oversight by the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament

“(1) At the end of each relevant twelve-month period the Secretary of State must make a report to the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament with information on the number of criminal conduct authorisations authorised by the intelligence services and the categories of conduct authorised.

(2) In subsection (1) ‘relevant twelve-month period’ means—

(a) the period of twelve months beginning with the day on which this section comes into force, and

(b) each successive period of twelve months.”

On behalf of the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament, to amend the Bill to ensure that the ISC is kept informed of the use of criminal conduct authorisations by the intelligence services.

New clause 4—Trade Unions

“(1) A criminal conduct authorisation shall not be granted in respect of the actions of a covert human intelligence source relating to a trade union or a member or officer of a trade union acting or proposing to act in contemplation or furtherance of any issue which is or could be—

(a) the subject matter of collective bargaining within the meaning of section 178 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992;

(b) the subject of a trade dispute within the meaning of section 244 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992; or

(c) within the lawful objects of the trade union.

(2) In this section, ‘trade union’ has the same meaning as in section 1 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992.”

This new clause lays out that a criminal conduct authorisation could not be applied to a trade union, thereby putting a limit on where such authorisations can apply.

New clause 5—Blacklisting—

“(1) A criminal conduct authorisation shall not be granted in respect of the actions of a covert human intelligence source in relation to another person who—

(a) is a subject of a prohibited list or is suspected of being a subject of a prohibited list where the action of the covert human intelligence source is related to that fact or suspicion;

(b) compiles, uses, sells, or supplies or proposes or attempts to compile, use, sell, or supplies a prohibited list; or

(c) supplies or proposes or attempts to supply to another information which he knows or can reasonably be expected to know will be used in the compilation or use of a prohibited list.

(2) In this section ‘prohibited list’ has the same meaning as in Regulation 3(2) of the Employment Relations Act 1999 (Blacklists) Regulations 2010 SI 2010/493.”

This new clause lays out that a criminal conduct authorisation could not be applied to a trade union, thereby putting a limit on where such authorisations can apply.

New clause 6—Commissioner approval for authorisations to identify or confirm journalistic sources—

“(1) Subsection (2) applies if a designated person has granted a criminal conduct authorisation for the purposes of identifying or confirming a source of journalistic information.

(2) The authorisation is not to take effect until such time (if any) as a Judicial Commissioner has approved it.

(3) A Judicial Commissioner may approve the authorisation if, and only if, the Judicial Commissioner considers that—

(a) at the time of the grant, there were reasonable grounds for considering that the requirements of this Part were satisfied in relation to the authorisation, and

(b) at the time when the Judicial Commissioner is considering the matter, there are reasonable grounds for considering that the requirements of this Part would be satisfied if an equivalent new authorisation were granted at that time.

(4) In considering whether the position is as mentioned in subsection (3)(a) and (b), the Judicial Commissioner must, in particular, have regard to—

(a) the public interest in protecting a source of journalistic information, and

(b) the need for there to be another overriding public interest before a relevant public authority seeks to identify or confirm a source of journalistic information.

(5) Where, on an application under this section, the Judicial Commissioner refuses to approve the grant of the authorisation, the Judicial Commissioner may quash the authorisation.

(6) In this section—

‘Journalistic material’ means material created or acquired for the purposes of journalism.”

New clause 7—Approval for criminal conduct authorisations—

“After section 29B of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (inserted by section 1) insert—

‘29C Approval for criminal conduct authorisations

(1) This section applies where an authorisation has been granted under section 29B.

(2) The authorisation has no effect until such time (if any) as the Judicial Commissioner has approved the grant of the authorisation.

(3) The Judicial Commissioner may give approval under this section to the granting of an authorisation under section 29B if, and only if, the Judicial Commissioner is satisfied that—

(a) at the time of the grant the person granting the authorisation had reasonable grounds to believe that the requirements of 29B(4), and any requirements imposed by virtue of section 29B(10), were satisfied in relation to the authorisation;

(b) at the time when the Judicial Commissioner is considering the matter, there remain reasonable grounds for believing that the requirements of section 29B(4), and any requirements imposed by virtue of section 29B(10), are satisfied in relation to the authorisation; and

(c) the authorisation granted does not authorise conduct that is incompatible with any Convention rights.

(4) In this section—

“Convention rights” has the meaning given in section 1(1) of the Human Rights Act 1998; and

“Judicial Commissioner” has the meaning given in section 227 of the Investigatory Powers Act 2016.’”

This new clause is consequential on Amendment 25.

New clause 8—Criminal conduct authorisations: Granting to children and vulnerable sources—

“After section 29B of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (inserted by section 1) insert—

‘29C Criminal conduct authorisations: Granting to children and vulnerable sources

(1) This section applies when the source is—

(a) under the age of 18,

(b) a vulnerable individual, as defined in subsection (5),

(c) a victim of modern slavery or trafficking, as defined in subsection (6).

(2) No criminal conduct authorisations may be granted for a source to whom subsection (1) applies unless the authorising officer believes that exceptional circumstances apply that necessitate the authorisation.

(3) Where a source is one to whom subsection (1) applies the arrangements referred to in section 29(2)(c) of this Act must be such that there is at all times a person holding an office, rank or position with a relevant investigating authority who has responsibility for ensuring that an appropriate adult is present at all meetings between the source and a person representing any relevant investigating authority.

(4) In subsection (3) “appropriate adult” means—

(a) the parent or guardian of the source;

(b) any other person who has for the time being assumed responsibility for his welfare; or

(c) where no person falling within paragraph (a) or (b) is available, any responsible person aged eighteen or over who is neither a member of nor employed by any relevant investigating authority.

(5) A “vulnerable individual” is a person who by reason of mental disorder or vulnerability, other disability, age or illness, is or may be unable to take care of themselves, or unable to protect themselves against significant harm or exploitation.

(6) A “victim of modern slavery or trafficking” is a person who the relevant investigating authority believes is or may be a victim of trafficking as defined by section 2 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015, or exploitation as defined by section 3 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

(7) The “exceptional circumstances” in subsection (2) include—

(a) where authorisation of the criminal conduct authorisation is necessary to protect life and limb, including in relation to the CHIS; and

(b) where authorisation of the criminal conduct authorisation is necessary on the grounds of national security.’”

Amendment 21, in schedule 1, page 6, line 22, at end insert—

“(3A) In section 5 (Lawful surveillance etc.), in subsection (1)—

(a) after ‘applies’ insert ‘(other than conduct authorised under section 7A)’; and

(b) after ‘Part’ insert ‘(other than conduct authorised under section 7A)’.”

This amendment will ensure that victims of crimes authorised under this Bill can seek civil redress.

Amendment 19, page 7, line 49, at end insert—

“(10) A criminal conduct authorisation will not have effect unless and until the authorisation has been shared with the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.”

This amendment will ensure that prosecutors can review crimes authorised under this Bill.

That schedule 1 be the First schedule to the Bill.

Amendment 17, in schedule 2, page 10, line 19, leave out from “it” to end of line 30.

This amendment is consequential on amendment 16.

That schedule 2 be the Second schedule to the Bill.