Surveillance and journalists (1)

MQT on 2015-11-18
Session date: 
November 18, 2015
Question By: 
Jenny Jones
City Hall Greens
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Thank you for your answers to my question 2015/3210 and 2015/3211. Can you clarify some points in your answer regarding how you identify whether a person is a journalist. First, I assume that if the police officer making the application fails to realise that the person subject to the request is in a privileged occupation and does not tick the required box, then no judicial order will be sought? Is there any database of people in privileged occupations available to officers, to check whether someone is in one? What is the process if an authorisation is given and it subsequently emerges that the person is in a privileged occupation?


Answer for Surveillance and journalists (1)

Answer for Surveillance and journalists (1)

Answered By: 
The Mayor

There is no such database, but of course research across all our current crime recording and intelligence databases, and any open source research, would be undertaken before considering a RIPA or PACE application for communications data. Should the applicant identify that the subject of the data request occupies a privileged occupation on or after receipt of the data, they would need to review issues of collateral intrusion and take steps to minimise. This is paramount for communications data no matter whom the subject.

In cases involving those in privileged occupations, including journalists, acquisition would be made under Part 1 Chapter 2 RIPA.   The only instance whereby data is acquired by a production order (PACE) is when the intent is to determine a journalistic source. This might include acquisition of data for a subject who is not a journalist, but the purpose is to determine who has been contacting a journalist.