Chancellor speaks out over inappropriate use of law which saw Suffolk journalist phone records accessed

Mark Bulstrode

Mark Bulstrode

Chancellor George Osborne has said the Government would have to address a controversial law used by Suffolk police to gain access to a Suffolk journalist’s mobile phone records, if prosecutors did not sort it out for themselves.

He condemned the use of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA), which he said had not been what the law was created for.

It comes after revelations that police have used their powers – originally intended to be used for anti-terrorism inquiries and serious crime investigations – to identify journalists’ sources.

The first publicly-known case involved East Anglian Daily Times reporter Mark Bulstrode, who also worked for the Ipswich Star, and whose private mobile phone records were accessed by Suffolk police in 2006.

Mr Osborne said: “There are issues out there we should we concerned about.

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He said the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act was “a tool used to fight serious crime”, adding: “Yet it has been used to investigate journalists and the sources that journalists have.

“That is not what parliament wanted that act for. It is not appropriate. It is something that, of course, if the prosecuting authorities and the criminal justice system can’t address, it is something, I think,. the Government will have to address.”

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