Organisations using investigatory powers

There are over 600 public authorities who can use investigatory powers. However, not every organisation can use every power.

The most intrusive powers can only be used by a small number.

Who can use what power is controlled by five key pieces of legislation:

This chart shows who is authorised to use each of the powers. If an authorised body can use a specific power, it is marked with a “✓”.

MI5GCHQMI6Law Enforcement AgenciesMinistry of DefenceWider Public AuthoritiesLocal Authorities
Covert Human Intelligence Source
Covert Human Intelligence Source: Criminal Conduct
Directed Surveillance
Intrusive Surveillance
Property Interference
Equipment Interference
Targeted Interception
Bulk Equipment Interference
Bulk Personal Datasets
Bulk Interception
Bulk Acquisition
The Principles
Section 7, ISA
Comms Data

We oversee the use of these powers by these organisations. You can read a full list of the public authorities with access to investigatory powers in Annex A of our 2019 Annual Report.

Have a question?

Send us a message and we will get in touch as soon as possible

Get in touch

Follow us on Twitter to keep up to date with IPCO

Check our FAQs for answers to commonly asked questions

Read our FAQs