PM appoints new Investigatory Powers Commissioner

Published on 03 October 2019

The Prime Minister has today announced the appointment of Sir Brian Leveson as the new Investigatory Powers Commissioner (IPC).

The current Commissioner, Sir Adrian Fulford, will shortly move on to become the Vice President of the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division). Sir Brian will take up post on 21 October, following Sir Adrian’s departure.

In his new role, Sir Brian will lead the Investigatory Powers Commissioner’s Office (IPCO) and the Office for Communications Data Authorisations (OCDA).

Sir Brian Leveson said:

“I am delighted to have been appointed as the second Investigatory Powers Commissioner, following all of the work in setting up and organising the offices which Lord Justice Fulford has so ably undertaken. I wish him well in his new role as Vice-President of the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division).

“The authorisation and inspection responsibilities of IPCO and OCDA are critical to ensuring public confidence in the use of investigatory powers.

“I look forward to working with the Judicial Commissioners, the Inspectors and everyone else across IPCO and OCDA, all of whom have done so much to achieve the success that is already evident.”

Investigatory powers are used to gather intelligence for a particular operation or investigation. This can be done, for example, through the acquisition of communications data or the use of surveillance or undercover officers. More than 600 public bodies have authority to use the powers, including the intelligence agencies, police forces and local authorities.

IPCO is responsible for the authorisation and oversight of investigatory powers. The IPC, together with a team of Inspectors and Judicial Commissioners, ensures that the powers are used in the public interest and in accordance with the law.

The Judicial Commissioners are retired senior judges, selected to support the IPC by reviewing warrant applications. The IPCO inspectors are responsible for the inspection of how investigatory powers have been used by public bodies.

Under the provisions in the Investigatory Powers Act (2016), three organisations were merged to form IPCO in 2017: the Office of the Surveillance Commissioners (OSC), the Interception of Communications Commissioner’s Office (IOCCO) and the Intelligence Service Commissioner’s Office (ISComm).

OCDA considers requests for communications data from law enforcement and public authorities. It started to take applications in March and its offices will be fully operational by the end of 2019.

IPCO’s 2018 annual report will be published later this year.


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