Publication - Advice and guidance

Covert surveillance and property interference: code of practice

Published: 28 Nov 2014
Directorate:
Safer Communities Directorate
Part of:
Law and order
ISBN:
9781784129620

A code of practice covering the authorisation of covert human intelligence sources in accordance with the Regulation of Investigatory Powers (Scotland) Act 2000.

Covert surveillance and property interference: code of practice
8. Keeping of records

8. Keeping of records

Centrally retrievable records of authorisations

Directed and intrusive surveillance authorisations

8.1. A record of the following information pertaining to all authorisations shall be centrally retrievable within each public authority for a period of at least three years from the ending of each authorisation. This information should be regularly updated whenever an authorisation is granted, renewed or cancelled and should be made available to the Surveillance Commissioner or an Inspector from the Office of Surveillance Commissioners upon request:

  • the type of authorisation;
  • the date the authorisation was given;
  • name and rank/grade of the authorising officer;
  • the unique reference number (URN) of the investigation or operation;
  • the title of the investigation or operation, including a brief description and names of subjects, if known;
  • whether the urgency provisions were used, and if so why;
  • if the authorisation has been renewed, when it was renewed and who authorised the renewal, including the name and rank/grade of the authorising officer;
  • whether the investigation or operation is likely to result in obtaining confidential information as defined in this code of practice[40];
  • whether the authorisation was granted by an individual directly involved in the investigation;[41]
  • the date the authorisation was cancelled.

8.2. The following documentation should also be centrally retrievable for at least three years from the ending of each authorisation:

  • a copy of the application and a copy of the authorisation together with any supplementary documentation and notification of the approval given by the authorising officer;
  • a record of the period over which the surveillance has taken place;
  • the frequency of reviews prescribed by the authorising officer;
  • a record of the result of each review of the authorisation;
  • a copy of any renewal of an authorisation, together with the supporting documentation submitted when the renewal was requested;
  • the date and time when any instruction to cease surveillance was given;
  • the date and time when any other instruction was given by the authorising officer.

Property interference authorisations

8.3. The following information relating to all authorisations for property interference should be centrally retrievable for at least three years:

  • the time and date when an authorisation is given;
  • whether an authorisation is in written or oral form;
  • the time and date when it was notified to a Surveillance Commissioner, if applicable;
  • the time and date when the Surveillance Commissioner notified his approval (where appropriate);
  • every occasion when entry on or interference with property or with wireless telegraphy has occurred;
  • the result of periodic reviews of the authorisation;
  • the date of every renewal; and
  • the time and date when any instruction was given by the authorising officer to cease the interference with property or with wireless telegraphy.

8.4. RIP(S)A records must be available for inspection by the Surveillance Commissioner and retained to allow the Investigatory Powers Tribunal, established under Part IV of RIPA, to carry out its functions. The Tribunal will consider complaints made up to one year after the conduct to which the complaint relates and, where it is equitable to do so, may consider complaints made more than one year after the conduct to which the complaint relates (see section 67(5) of the Act), particularly where continuing conduct is alleged. Although records are only required to be retained for at least three years, it is therefore desirable, if possible, to retain records for up to five years.


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Email: Graeme Waugh