Oversight of The Principles

‘The Principles’ is guidance published by the Cabinet Office, designed by reference to both UK and international law, which aims to ensure that intelligence sharing in relation to the detention and interviewing of detainees overseas is in accordance with international human rights laws.  

In June 2018, the Prime Minister invited the Investigatory Powers Commissioner (IPC), then Sir Adrian Fulford, to conduct a review of the “Consolidated Guidance to Intelligence Officers and Service Personnel on the Detention and Interviewing of Detainees Overseas, and on the Passing and Receipt of Intelligence Relating to Detainees.” 

Following this review and extensive consultation, Sir Adrian submitted his recommendations to the Prime Minister in June 2019. These were accepted in full and the Government published new guidance entitled “The Principles relating to the detention and interviewing of detainees overseas and the passing and receipt of intelligence relating to detainees” on 18 July 2019

Under a formal Direction, the Prime Minister instructed the IPC to oversee and report on the application of The Principles. The Direction is made pursuant to section 230(1) of the Investigatory Powers Act 2016 and came into effect from 1 January 2020.  

The Principles also apply to the National Crime Agency and the Metropolitan Police Service’s counter-terrorism unit (SO15).  At the request of the then Home Secretary, the IPC oversaw both organisations’ compliance with the guidance on a non-statutory basis from 1 January 2022. This has now been formalised by regulations which came into force on 8 December 2022.  

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