Interception of communications by Police Scotland/Internal policies of Police Scotland

 

Summary

In autumn 2015, the Committee noted reports that Scottish police officers may have unlawfully obtained communications data relating to journalistic sources. An exchange of correspondence with the Prime Minister and with the Interception of Communications Commissioner's Office then followed.

On 1 December 2015, the Committee agreed to take evidence on the Interception of Communications Commissioner’s statement of 25 November 2015 that Police Scotland had contravened the Acquisition and Disclosure of Communications Data Code of Practice. Evidence was taken on 15 December 2015 and 12 January 2016.

The Committee subsequently agreed to take evidence on two related issues: internal communications at Police Scotland, and Police Scotland's policies and procedures in relation to the protection of staff who report malpractice within the organisation. Evidence was taken on 1 March 2016.

Evidence

On 15 December 2015 the Committee took evidence from Deputy Chief Constable Neil Richardson, Designated Deputy for the Chief Constable; John Foley, Chief Executive, Scottish Police Authority; and Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Justice. 

Follow the link below for 2015 meeting papers and the Official Reports.

On 12 January 2016 the Committee took evidence from Ruaraidh Nicolson, Assistance Chief Constable, Organised Crime and Counter Terrorism.

On 1 March 2016 the Committee took evidence from Chief Constable Philip Gormley, Andrew Flanagan, Chair, and John Foley, Chief Executive, Scottish Police Authority.

Follow the link below for 2016 meeting papers and the Official Reports.

Additional Information

Correspondence

Following reports that Scottish police officers may have unlawfully intercepted communications data, the Committee entered into correspondence with the Prime Minister and the Interception of Communications Commissioner's Office.

The Committee agreed to publish the letter below following confirmation from the Head of the IOCCO that they did not insist on the letter or any part of it remaining confidential, and that the decision whether to publish it was for the Committee.

On 1 December 2015, the Committee agreed to take evidence on the Interception of Communications Commissioner's statement of 25 November 2015 that Police Scotland had contravened the Acquisition and Disclosure of Communications Data Code of Practice. Correspondence relevant to this decision is set out below.

[Clerk’s note: ten words have been redacted from the above letter so as to avoid the risk of disclosing personal data, in line with the Parliament’s publication policy and in order to ensure compliance with data protection law.]

The Committee took evidence from DCC Neil Richardson of Police Scotland, John Foley of the Scottish Police Authority and the Cabinet Secretary for Justice on 15 December 2015. Following his evidence, DCC Richardson sent a letter to the clerks.

The letter refers to an email from the clerks, posted below. The email follows up on a telephone conversation between clerks and Police Scotland in which Police Scotland were first notified that, following the 15 December meeting, the Committee wished to hear from four further witnesses from Police Scotland:

There was also an exchange of correspondence with the President of the Association of Scottish Police Superintendents.

Following the 15 December evidence session, the Convener sent a letter to Police Scotland requesting further information on various matters and issuing a formal invitation to four other officers in Police Scotland to attend the Committee's 12 January meeting. Correspondence on various issues arising from the Convener's letter, including issues relating to the attendance of Police Scotland witnesses at future Committee meetings ensued.

Some of the documentation requested by the Convener in her 16 December letter was subsequently provided between January and March. Relevant correspondence is set out below.

Following the Committee's second evidence session, with ACC Ruaraidh Nicolson, on 12 January, there was a further exchange of correspondence on the attendance of four police officers at a future meeting.

On 1 February, the Committee agreed to invite the Chief Constable and the Scottish Police Authority to give evidence. The meeting took place on 1 March. Correspondence relevant to that decision and to the evidence-taking session itself is set out below.

On 8 March, the Committee agreed to publish the following letter:

 
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