Daily Archives: 22/07/2014

Liberty represents MPs David Davis and Tom Watson in legal challenge to Government’s “emergency” surveillance law

At 11.00 am this morning, Liberty announced that it will seek a Judicial Review of the Government’s ’emergency’ surveillance law on behalf of MPs David Davis and Tom Watson. The announcement comes days after the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014 (DRIP) was – according to Liberty – “rushed through Parliament” onto the statute book.

Liberty is arguing on Davis and Watson’s behalf that the new legislation is incompatible with Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), the right to respect for private and family life, and Articles 7 and 8 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights relating to respect for private and family life and the protection of personal data.

Since 2009, communications data has been retained by public communications services and network providers under a 2009 EU Data Retention Directive. However, back in April the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled that the Directive was invalid because it was so sweeping in its interference with individual privacy rights. The judgement made clear that existing UK legislation, including the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA), required urgent review.

On 10 July 2014, the DRIP Bill was introduced by ministers claiming that “emergency” legislation was necessary. The Bill was privately agreed following discussions between the three main party leaders. It became law within just three days – a timescale which Liberty feels has rendered proper parliamentary scrutiny, amendment and even debate impossible.

James Welch: Liberty's legal director

James Welch: Liberty’s legal director

James Welch, legal director for Liberty, said: “It’s as ridiculous as it is offensive to introduce an “emergency” law in response to an essay crisis. The court ruling that blanket data retention breached the privacy of every man, woman and child in the UK was more than three months ago. The Government has shown contempt for both the rule of law and Parliamentary Sovereignty. This private cross-party stitch-up, rail-roaded onto the statute book inside three days, is ripe for challenge in the Courts.”

David Davis, Conservative MP for Haltemprice and Howden, added: “This Act of Parliament was driven through the House of Commons with ridiculous and unnecessary haste to meet a completely artificial emergency. As a result, Members of Parliament had no opportunity to either research it, consider it or debate it properly. The aim of this legal action is to make the Government give the House the opportunity to do what it should have been allowed to do in the first place – in other words proper, considered and effective law-making. The overall aim is to create law which both protects the security of our citizens without unnecessarily invading their privacy.”

David Davis MP

David Davis MP

Tom Watson, Labour MP for West Bromwich East, added: “The three party leaders struck a private deal to rail-road through a controversial Bill in a week. You cannot make good laws behind closed doors. The new Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act does not answer the concerns of many that the blanket retention of personal data is a breach of fundamental rights to privacy.”

Tom Watson MP

Tom Watson MP

The Human Rights Act 1998

The Human Rights Act 1998 incorporates the ECHR into UK law. Section 3 requires that, so far as it is possible to do so, primary and subordinate legislation must be read and given effect in a way which is compatible with Convention rights.

Section 4 stipulates that in any proceedings in which a court determines whether a provision or primary legislation is compatible with a Convention right, the court may – if it’s satisfied that the provision is incompatible – make a declaration of that incompatibility.

Liberty’s clients (ie David Davis MP and Tom Watson MP) claim that Section 1 of the DRIP 2014 is incompatible with the Human Rights Act and, in particular, Article 8 of the ECHR, together with Articles 7 and 8 of the EU Charter.

The powers within Section 1 of DRIP are extraordinarily wide. In its letter before claim to the Home Secretary, Liberty argues that such powers are incompatible with Article 8 of the ECHR and/or Articles 7 and/or 8 of the EU Charter for a number of reasons, including the following:

*Communications data can provide a very intimate picture of a person’s life – who they communicated with, by what means, the time and length of the communication, where the communication took place and the frequency of the communications. As the CJEU ruling said: “Those data, taken as a whole, may allow very precise conclusions to be drawn concerning the private lives of the persons whose data has been retained, such as the habits of everyday life, permanent or temporary places of residence, daily or other movements, the activities carried out, the social relationships of those persons and the social environments frequented by them”

*Communications data retained under DRIP is subject to an extremely lax access regime – still governed by the RIPA (Communications Data) Order 2010 – allowing such data to be acquired by hundreds of public authorities

*The Act allows the Home Secretary to command, by order, the blanket retention of all communications data for 12 months – no link with the prevention or detection of serious crime is required

Via its letter before claim, Liberty has invited the Home Secretary Theresa May to concede that the Act is indeed incompatible and to publish and present a replacement Bill, in turn allowing Parliament to fulfil its proper constitutional function.

Alternatively, the Home Secretary is invited to concede that Peter Davis MP and Tom Watson MP’s claim is arguable and that a substantive hearing ought to follow.

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Director of Public Prosecutions launches support package for crime victims

Alison Saunders – the Director of Public Prosecutions – has launched a wide-ranging support package for the victims of crime. Dedicated units of trained staff are now up-and-running across England and Wales. In addition, the final Victims’ Right to Review scheme is being published alongside almost a year’s worth of statistics from the interim scheme launched in June 2013.

“There has been a lot of focus on the victims of sexual offences in recent months,” commented Saunders, “but all crimes – from burglary and muggings through to harassment and fraud – serve to undermine confidence, create fear and damage the fabric of our society. My focus is on improving our service to anyone who has suffered at the hands of criminals.”

More than 70 Victim Liaison Officers (VLOs) will staff units across England and Wales, with around 80 completing training alongside experts from the Victim Support charity in handling the specific needs of crime victims. Members of staff have also been provided with disability awareness training by the Business Disability Forum.

Victim Liaison Units were piloted in three CPS Areas from March 2014 with feedback from victims on the amount of information they wanted to receive on their cases. The CPS will now always offer a meeting to victims and their families when it stops or changes the charges in cases involving the following offence types: homicide cases, sexual offences, child abuse cases, offences aggravated by hostility based on disability, racially/religiously aggravated offences, cases with a homophobic, transphobic or sexual orientation element and offences motivated by hostility based on age.

Alison Saunders: the Director of Public Prosecutions

Alison Saunders: the Director of Public Prosecutions

Alison Saunders continued: “On my first day as the Director of Public Prosecutions, I spoke of my intention to set up Victim Liaison Units across the CPS. I’m really pleased to announce this roll-out after a successful pilot. These specialist members of staff are receiving bespoke training from one of the charities that know victims best – the charity Victim Support, whose professionalism I witnessed when I visited its centre last year. I hope people will see this collaboration as a sign of a modern and responsive prosecution service.”

The Victims’ Right to Review Scheme

As stated earlier, the Victims’ Right to Review (VRR) Scheme was first launched in June 2013, and details of the final scheme have now been published on the CPS website. Between 5 June 2013 and 31 March 2014, the CPS reviewed 1,186 cases and decisions in 1,024 of those cases were found to be the right one.

In total, 162 decisions have been overturned (which accounts for 0.14% of all qualifying decisions finalised in the period). A breakdown of the reviews by offence category has also been published on the CPS website.

The DPP has now committed to ensuring that CPS policy and guidance will be updated wherever necessary due to any issues identified through the VRR process.

Alison Saunders stated: “It’s hard to think of a scheme that gives more power to victims than the Victims’ Right to Review. Having the right to challenge our work and hold us to account is fundamental to instilling greater confidence among victims. We made 113,952 qualifying decisions during the period covered by these latest figures, and so less than 0.14% of those decisions have been overturned. This should be seen as a sign of confidence in our decision-making and also our ability to act swiftly where mistakes may have been made.”

The CPS is also publishing Complaints and Community Engagement Standards for all members of staff. The document sets out clear benchmarks of quality by which the CPS’ performance on handling complaints and engaging with the wider community can be measured by victims and the wider public. The standards will be subject to a public consultation.

“The work we are setting out here,” concluded Saunders, “is a major step forward in addressing the balance of power towards the victim within criminal justice. Empowering and supporting the victims of crime is an absolute priority for me as Director of Public Prosecutions, and was the very reason I became a prosecutor more than 25 years ago. The right to review and specialist Victim Liaison Officers will make a very real and tangible difference to those whom we serve.”

Public confidence – the critical factor

The Rt Hon Jeremy Wright MP – the newly-installed Attorney General – said: “Public confidence in the criminal justice system is the critical factor in helping victims of crime to come forward. Victims need to know that they will be listened to, taken seriously and supported so that justice can be done. That’s why the package of measures that the Director of Public Prosecutions has announced is so significant. It’s a clear statement that the prosecution will put victims first, and will make a real difference to the way in which individuals are supported through the justice process.”

Victims’ Commissioner Baroness Newlove, who has also welcomed the announcement, said: “Victims need to be listened to and have open and honest conversations about what is happening to them. I welcome the efforts of the CPS to do this in a compassionate, clear and timely way. The right to review is a crucial and essential tool for those who want to challenge a court decision and hold the CPS to account, which is why it’s so important to get it right. I will be looking very closely at how both are being delivered to ensure they are in compliance with the Victims’ Code and are delivered at a standard that victims deserve.”

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BSIA membership wins 2014 Infologue.com Building The Future Award

The British Security Industry Association’s membership has triumphed in this year’s Infologue.com-Risk UK Building The Future Award, which was presented at London’s Hilton Hotel, Park Lane on Wednesday 16 July.

Back in 2003, Interconnective Ltd (publisher of the security and counter-terrorism focused news and opinion portal http://www.infologue.com) devised and sponsored the inaugural Building The Future Award.

On an annual basis, this accolade is bestowed upon the individual or organisation deemed by previous winners still active in the security world to have used the previous 12-month period in creating a major footprint – a major footprint on the road towards the realisation of a vibrant, professional and profitable security services sector for the UK.

In 2014, the winner is the British Security Industry Association’s (BSIA) membership, who ably and actively support the Trade Association that does so much to benefit the security sector by way of standards and Code of Practice development as well as political lobbying and continually helping to influence the road map for private sector regulation.

Speaking on stage at this year’s award presentation, which took place at the BSIA’s own Annual Luncheon and Security Personnel Awards Ceremony, Interconnective Ltd’s managing director Bobby Logue explained: “The key reason why the BSIA’s members have been selected to receive this year’s award is due to their invaluable contribution towards the Trade Association’s cohesive strategic direction. Members of the BSIA’s individual sections decided on their individual strategies and, at the same time, actively embraced a set of corporate goals led and championed by outgoing BSIA chairman Geoff Zeidler.”

Left to Right: Bobby Logue (md, Interconnective), Geoff Zeidler (GZC Consultants), Julie Kenny CBE DL (chairman, Pyronix), Tim Geddes, BSIA chairman Pauline Norstrom and Brian Sims Hon FSyI, Editor of Risk UK

Left to Right: Bobby Logue (md, Interconnective), Geoff Zeidler (GZC Consultants), Julie Kenny CBE DL (chairman, Pyronix), Tim Geddes, BSIA chairman Pauline Norstrom and Brian Sims Hon FSyI, Editor of Risk UK

Logue continued: “As a result of the changes introduced, as an organisation the BSIA has become far more member-centric. There is now much greater participation in the Trade Association by its smaller members. This has been evidenced this year, in fact, by the number of smaller security companies putting forward submissions for the annual Security Personnel Awards. In the late 1990s I accused the BSIA of perhaps being a ‘Big Boys’ Club’. In my opinion that’s no longer the case.”

Reasons behind the decision

Logue went on to outline several other pivotal reasons why the BSIA membership has triumphed in 2014. They include the following:

• Reducing the impact on security personnel from Cash-in-Transit attacks (the number of attacks on Cash-in-Transit couriers reached a record low last year, with just 270 attacks taking place and representing a 30% decrease when compared to 2012, in addition to an impressive 75% decrease on the all-time high figure of 1060 attacks recorded in 2009)
• Nominating 22 experts to European Standards Working Groups (for example, due to the input and dedication of a number of BSIA members, the European suite of standards focused around intruder alarm systems is progressing towards completion within a few years)
• Providing a clear mandate in support of the Security Industry Authority’s ongoing business licensing proposals
• Influencing the development of standards for Alarm Receiving Centres

Commenting on the BSIA membership’s success, Risk UK’s Editor Brian Sims Hon FSyI – who presented this year’s trophy in tandem with Bobby Logue – explained: “The BSIA has done so much in support of the security sector and the profession of security in general. On that basis alone, this recognition is just reward for the section members who absolutely underpin the fabulous work carried out by the dedicated BSIA team at Head Office.”

Sims continued: “In the guarding world, BSIA member companies have campaigned tirelessly on regulatory issues, while at all times their members of staff perform outstanding acts of bravery and exhibit Best Practice on behalf of client organisations. Similarly, BSIA members involved with systems development have played a crucial role in helping to formulate new standards and Codes of Practice. Without their efforts, it’s fair to put forward the notion that the security sector simply wouldn’t progress.”

Back in April, for example, an important Code of Practice for the CCTV sector was revised by the BSIA in order to reflect the very latest in surveillance camera installation standards.

The Code of Practice – relating to the planning, design, installation and operation of CCTV systems – was first published in the early 1990s. With so much change currently affecting the CCTV sector, including newly-created IEC and Cenelec standards, this latest revision was undertaken to reflect current installation practices and bring together all requirements from across the standards landscape.

The landscape of CCTV standards is indeed complex and can be difficult to navigate, so this Code of Practice (alongside its associated guidance) is intended to provide a single point of information for security installers wishing to provide a quality service compliant to legislative requirements.

The revised version of the Code of Practice has also been harmonised with the Government’s own CCTV Code of Practice, absorbing the 12 principles laid out by the Surveillance Camera Commissioner and thus enabling interested parties to readily see where the Government’s requirements are reflected in the Code.

Previous winners of the Building The Future Award

Previous winners of the prestigious Building The Future Award – which is orchestrated by Bobby Logue, supported by Risk UK and, in 2014, celebrates its tenth anniversary – have included David Dickinson (BSIA), Stuart Lowden (Wilson James), Baroness Ruth Henig CBE (former chairman of the Security Industry Authority) and Skills for Security.

In 2010, a posthumous award was made to Jǿrgen Philip-Sǿrensen CBE MA (JPS) – a man recognised as the founding father of the security world.

In 2012, DAC Janet Williams QPM (then of the Metropolitan Police Service) deservedly won the trophy. Janet’s tremendous work in helping to realise a more effective communications and working relationship between the police service and the private security sector were duly noted and honoured.

Last year, The Security Institute won the trophy for developing and managing the ground-breaking Register of Chartered Security Professionals in partnership with The Worshipful Company of Security Professionals.

Other reasons for The Security Institute’s success included:
• Provision of accredited and award-winning Certificate and Diploma courses in Security Management at Levels 3 and 5 respectively
• Creating and presenting its own annual awards – the Wilf Knight Award and the George Van Schalkwyk Award for academic excellence
• Publishing a series of Good Practice Guides for security professionals

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