Friday 1 September witnessed Lord Justice Adrian Fulford begin a new role in overseeing the use of investigatory powers by the police service, law enforcement and the intelligence agencies. This marks a major milestone in establishing the powerful oversight regime set out in the Investigatory Powers Act, which was granted Royal Assent last year.
The role replaces the oversight roles previously undertaken by the Chief Surveillance, Interception of Communications and Intelligence Services Commissioners by establishing inspection and oversight functions in a single independent body.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd commented: “The Investigatory Powers Act offers a world-leading oversight regime to ensure the powers that the security and intelligence agencies and law enforcement employ to investigate crimes and protect the public are used responsibly and proportionately. In commencing his oversight responsibility, Lord Justice Fulford is playing a vital role in providing the enhanced safeguards we’ve set out in the Act. I would like to thank the outgoing Commissioners, namely Lord Judge, Sir Stanley Burnton and Sir John Goldring, for their hard work and dedication to their respective roles.”
The Investigatory Powers Commissioner’s Office now takes over the inspection and oversight functions carried out by the previous Commissioners’ offices, and also takes on responsibility for the pre-approval of certain policing activities authorised under the Police Act 1997.
The Commissioner’s further powers – including the judicial ‘double-lock’, which will require warrants issued by the Secretary of State to also be approved by a Judicial Commissioner – are to be introduced in due course.
Lord Judge (formerly the Chief Surveillance Commissioner) and Sir Stanley Burnton (formerly the Interception of Communications Commissioner) are now standing down.
Formerly the Intelligence Services Commissioner, Sir John Goldring will take on a new role as Deputy Investigatory Powers Commissioner.