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Written Question
Protest: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
24 Nov 2021

Questioner: Lloyd Russell-Moyle (LAB - Brighton, Kemptown)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to ensure that (a) if drones are used by the police to monitor protests that protesters are aware that aerial surveillance will be taking place, and (b) should government agencies wish to use drones for covert surveillance that authorisation will only be given when necessary and proportionate.

Answered by Kit Malthouse

Decisions to use drones and in what circumstances, are operational matters for police forces who, when operating drones, are subject to the requirements of the Air Navigation Order and data protection law, including the need to provide data protection impact assessments.

Covert surveillance activities of public authorities are governed by the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) 2000 and Regulation of Investigatory Powers (Scotland) Act (RIPSA) 2000. Authorisation for using drones for covert surveillance is therefore considered by agencies on a case by case basis, in accordance with the requirements of RIPA.