This website is primarily designed to be used by those who authorise and conduct
covert surveillance operations and use covert human intelligence sources (as informants and undercover officers are now known). It shows you how to carry out these activities in compliance with the powers granted by Parliament, and how the OSC monitors the exercise of those powers. By way of practical help we have identified some key points, some sources of advice, and some examples of good and bad practice.
I hope that the website will also be useful to members of the public who are
interested in finding out about covert surveillance. It is
worth noting that although this website is relevant to most
public authorities, it is not concerned with telephone intercepts.
The basic legal principles are to be found in the
Police Act 1997, to which we shall refer as 'the 1997
Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (`RIPA') and
Regulation of Investigatory Powers (Scotland) Act 2000 (`RIP(S)A').
We intend to develop the site. How we do so will depend on the use that is made of it. So please let us know how you think it can be improved.
The Rt Hon Sir Christopher Rose
Chief Surveillance Commissioner
Office of Surveillance Commissioners
PO Box 29105,
London, SW1V 1ZU
Tel: 0207 035 0074
Fax: 0207 035 3114