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Police Commissioner calls for MPs to reignite debate on “essential” data law changes

Updated communications and data laws are “essential” to tackle the threat of terrorism and organised crime, according to Staffordshire’s Police Commissioner.

Matthew Ellis made his comments as part of a call to local MPs to reignite debate on the so-called ‘Snooper’s Charter’ which was abandoned in April

But now the Commissioner believes politicians need to think again on the proposals given the changing face of the technological landscape.

Matthew Ellis

Matthew Ellis

“Communications data is used in 95 per cent of all serious organised crime investigations, as well as in every major Security Service counter-terrorist operation in the last decade,” Mr Ellis said.

“But changing technology and new ways that the internet is used to communicate means there is now a serious capability gap for police and intelligence agencies to track the activity of those who are a threat through high level crime, paedophilia or terrorism.

“I’m concerned that estimates put that capability gap to be equivalent to the ability seven years ago because of the changes in technology and use of social media.

“If we expect security services and police to protect us from growing and changing threats it’s essential they have the tools to do that, including the ability to identify patterns of communication across different mediums which could provide early warning or substantiate known risks.

“The balance between privacy and protecting lives and interests must be reassessed by all of us but, and it’s a big but, there must also be the toughest and most intrusive safeguards to ensure proper scrutiny and exacting application of the rules by those who carry out this critical work.

“That’s what Parliament needs to urgently look at again sooner rather than later.”

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Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.


  1. 1984 is here

    12th June, 2013 at 9:48 am

    p*ss off with the ever increasing civil liberties that are disappearing all the time in the name of terrorism when it has been shown there are serious holes in the official stories as to who actually carried out 9/11 7/7 etc. this is bull ppl!

  2. Cynic

    12th June, 2013 at 11:07 am

    We already know the names of a lot of undesirables – but apart from giving them a big house lots of money and all the security they want – what action do we take?

    The first thing you should do is show the police how to communicate with each other.

  3. Jozef Nakielski

    12th June, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    I’ve nothing of interest to national security to hide. They can look at what they like. They already have permission to look at all of our texts and emails, and listen in to our mobile calls. We gave permission to that when we signed up or paid up. Anyone accessing you mobile account can read the texts. You ring up to enquire about a bill and they can call them up. Its no big deal, I dont really know what the fuss is about.
    Given a choice between a terrorist attack or someone reading my messages between me and the girlfriend I’ll always choose to let people read my messages.
    It mostly works off keywords anyway. such as terrorism, bomb, explosives, secret, under cover, meet and such like so not every message is read.

  4. Mr Lichfield

    12th June, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    i would have thought by now the PCC would understand that GCHQ has been doing what he proposes for many years now. All this by him is just press attention.

    I am for one very happy like Jozef for them to monitor, intercept and access what they need to in order to maintain law and order at the same time as prevent terrorist attacks. The Police “In london” and the security services are doing an outstanding job.

    So I would the PCC gets back to dealing with law and order in staffordshire and making sure Staffs Police do what they need to do and leave the national politics and national security to those appropriately trained