The Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) decision in 2016 found that the Professional Standards Department (PSD) of Cleveland Police had inappropriately sought and obtained authorisations under and within PSD in relation to the use of powers to obtain communications data.
Both the former Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland (PCC)and the then Chief Constable recognised the seriousness of the issues which emerged during the IPT hearing.
A decision was made (Decision Notice 2016-23430) to proactively determine whether the apparent failings in this case, may or may not be symptomatic of individual, institutional or systemic failings.
Accordingly the PCC and Chief Constable agreed to conduct a full audit and review.
This review considered cases dealt with by PSD (including the Anti-Corruption Unit), between 2011 and 2017. These were cases, in which telephone communications data authorisation was sought.
Accordingly, the former PCC (in conjunction with the then Chief Constable) appointed Weightmans LLP.
Weightmans were commissioned to carry out a specialist legal compliance review. This spanned the period between 1 January 2011 to 30 June 2017.
This was with a view to determining whether RIPA authorisations were sought in a procedurally and legally correct manner.
The review also sought to determine whether RIPA authorisations were made in accordance with all relevant legislation, case law and guidance.
The specification for the review required that the resulting report would be suitable for publication.
This would be subject to the Chief Constable’s discretion as to operational sensitivity. It would also be subject to other compelling public interest considerations.
The specification also made provision that there should be no obligation on the Contractor to share data (obtained or generated in the process of provision of the Services) with the PCC.
This would be in circumstances where the Chief Constable considered that such data was operationally sensitive in nature. In addition, it may be in circumstances where disclosure to the PCC would be other than in accordance with normal operational principles.
The Weightmans LLP review is now complete. As part of a pre-publication process, Weightmans LLP invited key stakeholders to inspect the report. Where applicable, stakeholders were invited to raise any issues with the report’s content.
The invitation to inspect the full report included interested parties. They included the Investigatory Powers Commissioner’s Office and the Independent Office of Police Conduct. Weightmans LLP conducted stakeholder engagement independently.
It has resulted in a short Addendum that takes account of responses provided during the stakeholder engagement stage.
This Decision Notice records the decision of the Acting Police and Crime Commissioner in respect of publication (in full or in part) of the Weightmans LLP Report and the Addendum report.
The Acting PCC and Chief Constable of Cleveland Police continue the original commitment to publish the full Report and Addendum by Weightmans LLP.
This commitment was also made to relevant parties to the IPT findings into the unlawful use of RIPA authorisations.