§ Viscount Simon
asked Her Majesty's Government:
If there is to be an announcement about the appointment and re-appointment of Surveillance Commissioners under Part III of the Police Act 1997. [HL3467]
§ Lord Williams of Mostyn
In accordance with Section 91 of the Police Act 1997, after consultation with the Scottish Ministers, the Prime Minister has agreed to appoint and re-appoint the following Surveillance Commissioners to assist Sir Andrew Leggatt, the Chief Surveillance Commissioner. There are three commissioners for England and Wales, two for Scotland and one for Northern Ireland. However, the remit of each commissioner covers the whole of the United Kingdom so that any commissioner can act in jurisdictions other than his own.
The Prime Minister has appointed, from 1 November 2001, as a Commissioner the right honourable Lord Sutherland, who served as a judge of the Court of Session from 1985 to 2001, for a period of three years.
He has also reappointed as commissioners:
Sir Charles McCullough
who was appointed as Surveillance Commissioner in 1998 and is reappointed for a further three years from 1 November 2001. He served as a High Court judge of the Queen's Bench Division from 1981 to 1998.
The right honourable Sir Michael Hutchison
who was appointed as Surveillance Commissioner in 1998 and is reappointed for a further three years from 1 November 2001. He served as a Lord Justice of Appeal from 1995 to 1999.
who was appointed as Surveillance Commissioner in 1998 and is reappointed for a further 162WA three years from 1 November 2001. He has been a judge of the Court of Session since 1997.
The right honourable Sir John MacDermott
who was appointed as Surveillance Commissioner in 1998 and is reappointed, 1 November 2001, until 1 October 2003.
The commissioners are appointed under the provisions of Part III of the Police Act 1997. The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 extended the commissioners' remit. Since the authorisation of intrusive surveillance operations forms a key component of the Government's response to serious and organised crime, I attach considerable Importance to these appointments and I am delighted that the commissioners have accepted their appointments. In conjunction with Sir Andrew Leggatt, their substantial judicial experience, particularly of the criminal justice system, will provide independent oversight of surveillance operations, which, although operationally important, must also be subject to stringent safeguards.