Following a recent hearing before the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT), in which allegations were made that the Professional Standards Department (PSD) of Cleveland Police had inappropriately sought and obtained authorisations under RIPA, it was anticipated that when judgment was given, failings were likely to be found to exist in decision making employed within PSD in relation to the use of powers to obtain communications data.
The Police & Crime Commissioner for Cleveland and the Chief Constable have recognised the seriousness of the issues which have emerged in the course of the recent IPT hearing.
Both consider it necessary proactively to determine whether the apparent failings in this one case, may or may not be symptomatic of individual, institutional or systemic failings.
Full audit and review
As a result, the PCC and Chief Constable have agreed to conduct a full audit and review of cases dealt with by PSD (including the Anti-Corruption Unit.)
The review will look at cases over last six years, in which telephone communications data authorisation was sought.
Accordingly the Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland (in conjunction with the Chief Constable) has sought to appoint a suitable Contractor to carry out a specialist legal compliance review.
The review will cover the period since 1st January 2011. It will aim to determine whether RIPA authorisations were sought in a procedurally and legally correct manner. The review will also look at whether they were authorised in accordance with all relevant legislation, case law, and guidance.
The specification for the service requires that the resulting report be suitable for publication. This will be subject to the Chief Constable’s discretion as to operational sensitivity, and subject to other compelling public interest considerations.
The specification also makes provision to the effect that there will be no obligation upon the Contractor to share data (obtained or generated in the process of provision of the Services) with the Police and Crime Commissioner in circumstances in which the Chief Constable considers that such data is operationally sensitive in nature and whose disclosure to the Police and Crime Commissioner would be other than in accordance with normal operational principles.