HC Deb 10 November 2003 vol 413 cc15-6W
Brian White

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what statutory investigatory powers the Department has; which ones will be superseded by use of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000; and what plans he has for removing these legacy powers. [136125]

Mr. McNulty

The Department for Transport is responsible for the following statutory investigatory powersSections 179 and 180 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, 76 and 77 of the Public Passenger Vehicles Act 1981, 129 of the Transport Act 1985 and 128 and 129 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, to require production of documents and to call witnesses in the course of an inquiry.1 Section 180 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, to inspect a vehicle that has been involved in a road accident. Section 75 of the Civil Aviation Act 1982, to obtain information in connection with investigations of air accidents. Sections 257 to 260, 267 and 268 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995, to require the production of documents and call witnesses under a formal inquiry, and require production of ships' documents and other documents necessary for inspections and examinations. Section 119 of the Railways Act 1933, to require the production of information to make directions to railway operators about safety.

The Department for Transport does not have any statutory investigatory powers that would be superseded by the use of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 or plans to amend or repeal any of its powers to that end. The above powers will continue to be used to compel the necessary and proportionate production of information, other than communications data, for the purposes described above. The draft Regulation of Investigatory Powers (Communications Data) Order would give access to communications data to selected officers of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency for the purposes of protecting public safety and preventing and detecting maritime crime.

Powers under section 259(2)(k) the Merchant Shipping Act 1995 to compel people to assist the Maritime and Coastguard Agency will be retained as they are used for other purposes not relating to accessing communications data. If the draft Order is enacted, these powers will not be used or attempted to be used for obtaining communications data. 1Similar powers exist under sections 249 and 249 of the Road Traffic Act 1960 and section 56 of the Goods Vehicle (Licensing of Operators) Act 1995, due to legislative changes these provisions will soon be repealed.

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