To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 24 April (HL15195), what guidance they have provided to police forces in England following the concerns raised by the Information Commissioner’s Office about the introduction of technology allowing the police to gather data from mobile phones or laptops by overriding passwords possibly being unlawful.
The police are operationally independent of the Home Office and the use of their powers to investigate crime, including operational guidance, is a matter for them.
Current guidance issued by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) stresses that decisions to access mobile phones have to be made on a case-by-case basis, balancing reasonable lines of inquiry with the right to privacy. Mobile phones of complainants and witnesses may only be accessed with their informed consent.
The NPCC and the CPS will engage with stakeholders, including the In-formation Commissioner’s Office, on this issue.