Surveillance and journalists (3)

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


If the Met Police were pursuing a 'whistleblower', or someone who had obtained 'stolen' data, is there any process and criteria for establishing whether there could be a 'public interest' defence of the suspect's actions which requires a judicial order? APPROVED



Answer for Surveillance and journalists (3)

Answer for Surveillance and journalists (3)

Answered By: 
The Mayor

1. "If the MPS are pursuing a whistle blower"

The circumstances as to whether a reporter of wrong doing can be classified as a whistleblower and the protection offered are now clearly laid down in the MPS' amended policy which has been agreed in line with MOPAC and the College of Policing. It also takes into account the disclosures which qualify for protection (qualifying disclosures) under the Public Interest Disclosure Act.

There are cases where someone who has been classified as a whistle blower/reporter of wrong doing will be assessed for misconduct or criminality for the offences which they have disclosed. If the reporter forms part of the actual wrong doing itself then he or she would be subject to the investigation and processes. The timing of their disclosure and the extent of their involvement in the wrong doing would all form part of the assessment process which would be explained to the reporter at the beginning of the process.

2. "or someone who had obtained stolen data"

This is technically a criminal offence and one which would be investigated. The extent of the knowledge of the status of the data, the intention of the person obtaining it and their actions would all form part of this process.

3.  "process or criteria for establishing whether there could be a public interest defence of the suspects actions which require a judicial order"

In cases which involve the investigation of a criminal offence within this context, the early advice and views of DLS and CPS would be sought to ensure that due process and all legal considerations are assessed and considered.

Any "public interest" defence would be a matter for the courts.