Bolton's crime commissioner calls for extra powers so police can investigate mobile phone technology
BOLTON’S crime commissioner is calling for new laws to enable police to gather data from mobile phones and computers in a bid to crack down on terrorists.
Tony Lloyd is one of 20 police and crime commissioners who will be urging Home Secretary Theresa May to restart the debate looking into laws to tackle criminals who are using increasingly sophisticated telecommunications and internet channels to plot crimes.
The Draft Communications Data Bill would enable police to gather data from telecommunications and internet traffic when investigating terrorism and serious organised crime.
It was put forward by Mrs May — but failed to get the support of Parliament.
Mr Lloyd said: “Legislation has failed to keep up with the pace of developments in technology. People now keep in touch with each other in a variety of ways, such as email, Skype, or instant messaging, but it is difficult for police to gather information on this communication. This puts them one step behind the criminal, hindering the fight against terrorism and organised crime, and putting public safety at risk.
“At the moment investigators can, within the legal framework, identify criminals and terrorists’ phone calls and text messages, when they were sent and where. Indeed, this has been vital to locking up some of the most dangerous people this country has ever seen and to disrupting potential terrorist outrages. But current laws prevent the police from obtaining the same information for email, internet telephony, instant messaging or other internet-based services.
“The Draft Communications Bill proposes that internet service providers and mobile phone companies be required to maintain records of each user’s internet browsing activity, email correspondence, telephone calls, internet gaming and mobile phone messaging services and store it for 12 months.”
He added that the law could be the difference between life and death — or a criminal being jailed or walking free.
The 21 Police and Crime Commissioners have added their signatures to a letter to Mrs May showing their support.
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