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House of Lords written question – answered on 25th February 2013.

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Photo of Lord Stoddart of Swindon Lord Stoddart of Swindon Independent Labour

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Taylor of Holbeach on 6 February (WA 62) concerning the use of unmanned aerial vehicles by police forces to carry out surveillance, whether the consent of Parliament is necessary for this type of surveillance; and whether it is intended to carry out public consultation on the policy.

Photo of Lord Taylor of Holbeach Lord Taylor of Holbeach The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

Police use of unmanned aerial vehicles would need to comply with existing Civil Aviation Authority regulations. Covert use likely to obtain private information would be subject to authorisation under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000. That Act requires that covert investigatory techniques are used only if they are necessary and proportionate for purposes such as preventing or detecting crime or in the interests of national security. It makes deployment subject to independent overview, inspection and right to redress in case of individual complaint. Any overt use of a surveillance camera system by the police will be subject to a new CCTV code of practice on which the Home Office is currently consulting under the Protection of Freedoms Act.

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