HC Deb 01 July 1998 vol 315 c185W
Mr. Corbett

To ask the Prime Minister if he will make an announcement about arrangements made to appoint the Chief Surveillance Commissioner under Part III of the Police Act 1997. [48812]

The Prime Minister

In accordance with section 91 of the Police Act 1997 I have decided to appoint Sir Andrew Leggatt as Chief Surveillance Commissioner for a period of 3 years.

I attach considerable importance to this appointment and to the implementation of the intrusive surveillance provisions, which form a key component of the Government's response to organised and serious crime. It is important that we ensure that the police and Customs have access to these operationally important techniques, but we must ensure that adequate procedures and protections are in place. I am delighted that Sir Andrew has accepted this appointment. I have no doubt that his skills and experience will prove invaluable.

The Chief Surveillance Commissioner will be responsible for keeping under review the authorisation of police and Customs intrusive surveillance operations under Part III of the Police Act 1997. Sir Andrew will be the first Chief Surveillance Commissioner appointed under these provisions, and will assist the establishment and development of the intrusive surveillance authorisation processes required under the Police Act 1997. His appointment is a key component of the work under way to implement the intrusive surveillance provisions, a process which should be completed later this year. The responsibilities of the Chief Commissioner will include:

  • Overseeing and reviewing the authorisation system and the work of Commissioners to be appointed under the Act;
  • Considering appeals by authorising officers and members of the public against decisions of the Commissioners;
  • Making an annual report to the Prime Minister and reporting to the Prime Minister at any time regarding the performance of functions under the Act.