Power to issue warrants to law enforcement officers

Part of Investigatory Powers Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 12:15 pm ar 21 Ebrill 2016.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of John Hayes John Hayes Minister of State (Home Office) (Security) 12:15, 21 Ebrill 2016

I was coming to that argument, which was also made by the hon. and learned Member for Holborn and St Pancras. I simply say that the character of the warrants we are speaking about, which law enforcement chiefs apply for, is central to much of what happens now in the investigatory process. It is based on those chiefs’ special understanding of such investigations. They are clearly answerable for the effective policing of their area, and they certainly have the experience and expertise to make the right decisions on what equipment interference is necessary in an investigation of a serious crime. The status quo suggests that the system works and the powers that we are describing have real value in dealing with crime and in anticipating the other kinds of harm that I have described.

In drawing up a Bill, as I have argued previously, one looks to cement existing powers, but of course one also scrutinises what is not working. If we had thought that the current system was not working, we would certainly have looked to change it. The Bill is consistent with other powers in the 1997 Act, as I have described, such as property interference. It would arguably be anomalous to separate what the police do in respect of property from what they do in respect of technology. It might well, in the hon. and learned Lady’s eyes, deal with one anomaly only to create another.