The Surveillance Inspectors assist the Chief Surveillance Commissioner in overseeing the authorisation of covert activities by public authorities. Their inspections take the form of detailed interviews with the senior officers and operational staff of those public authorities; the examination of documentation relating to policies and procedures; and the detailed analysis of individual operations.The review of corporate documentation includes looking at:

  • Written strategies, policies and procedures
  • Training plans and their delivery
  • Internal oversight and quality assurance mechanisms
  • Quality control standards, measurements and audits
  • Any performance measures and analysis reports
  • Collaboration agreements and their operational implementation

The detailed inspection of individual operations involves looking at a randomly selected sample (we are too small to examine every single case) of associated applications and authorisations, reviews, renewals and cancellations under the relevant Acts, to assess:

  • Compliance with legislation and associated Codes of Practice in the authorisation of directed surveillance, property interference, intrusive surveillance, CHIS, and the serving of notices to access encrypted information
  • The content and relevance of associated risk assessments
  • The knowledge and understanding of individual officers and the standard of their recorded considerations of the key matters of necessity, collateral intrusion and proportionality, and the clarity and pertinence of their authorisations
  • Arrangements for the storage, review and destruction of material obtained through the use of covert tactics