Surveillance

Home Department written question – answered on 2nd December 2009.

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Photo of Patrick Mercer Patrick Mercer Conservative, Newark

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applications for the use of covert human intelligence sources by (a) police forces in England and Wales, (b) the Security Service, (c) the Secret Intelligence Service, (d) GCHQ, (e) the National Criminal Intelligence Service, (f) the National Crime Squad and (g) the Serious Fraud Office have been refused by his Department under section 29(7) of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 in each year since 2000.

Photo of David Hanson David Hanson Minister of State (Home Office) (Crime and Policing)

Applications for the use of covert human intelligence sources are not submitted to the Home Office. The authorities responsible for authorising the use of covert human intelligence sources under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 ('RIPA')-including the Serious Organised Crime Agency which replaced the National Criminal Intelligence Service and National Crime Squad in 2005-are listed in Schedule 1 to that Act as amended by statutory instruments 2003 No.3171, 2005 No. 1084 and 2006 No. 1874. The Home Office will shortly bring forward a new statutory instrument to consolidate these earlier instruments.

RIPA vests statutory oversight of such authorisations with the independent Office of Surveillance Commissioners and the Intelligence Services Commissioner. The Chief Surveillance Commissioner publishes annual reports on his findings, copies of which are in the House Library, but the figures provided in the reports relate only to applications granted. The figures are reproduced as follows:

Use of covert human intelligence sources authorised under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000
2000- 01 2001- 02 2002- 03 2003- 04 2004- 05 2005- 06 2006- 07 2007- 08 2008 - 09
By law enforcement (1)- 5,400 5,900 5,907 4,980 4,559 4,373 4,498 4,278
By other authorities (1)- (1)- (1)- 273 308 437 429 204 234
(1) Not given

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