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

The hon. and learned Lady is right that these things need to be consistent, as I said in the previous discussion, but we have been arguing in favour of the double-lock throughout this consideration. I am not sure it would be sensible for us to use the Bill to change existing legislation that is doing its job. That was not the view of law enforcement itself; of David Anderson, when he looked at these matters; or of the Joint Committee when it considered them. It would be curious—I put it no more strongly than that—if we were suddenly to focus on this and make a considerable change to existing practice.

The use of covert human intelligence sources under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 is also well-established. The current practice is subject to the chief surveillance commissioner, who has publicly affirmed that law enforcement chiefs apply themselves with due care and attention to ensure they are compliant with the law and acting in good faith. Not only has the scrutiny of the Committees I have described not made the point that the hon. and learned Lady makes, but it seems that my defence of the status quo is supported by the evidence of the commissioner.

Equipment interference warrants must be approved by the judicial commissioner, so the hon. and learned Lady’s argument that a judge deals with the search of a property, and my argument that a judicial commissioner will approve the kinds of warrant we are debating now, seem to be equivalent. Perhaps she thinks a judicial commissioner is not the best person to do that.