§ Mr. Straw
I announced my intention to establish a Government Technical Assistance Centre, using £25 million of Capital Modernisation Funding, in a written reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, South (Mr. Cunningham) on 27 March 2000,Official Report, column 1W.848W
The facility will now be known as the National Technical Assistance Centre (NTAC). This is to reflect clearly that it will provide technical assistance to law enforcement agencies nationwide. NTAC will be a 24 hour centre operated by the Home Office on behalf of all the law enforcement, security and intelligence agencies, to process lawfully intercepted communications and lawfully acquired material and make it intelligible to intelligence analysts. It will also support criminal investigations through the provision of evidential material derived from electronically protected data.
Although, for reasons of physical security, NTAC will be located within the headquarters of the Security Service, the Home Office will retain responsibility for the day-to-day management of NTAC beyond when it acquires an initial operating capability. Once the operation of NTAC is firmly established, that decision will be reviewed.
NTAC will handle material obtained under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 and be subject to review by the Interception of Communications Commissioner and the Intelligence Services Commissioner. It will also be subject to the safeguards contained in that Act.
NTAC may also process material lawfully acquired under the Security Service Act 1989, the Intelligence Services Act 1994 and the Police Act 1997 for which it will be subject to review by the Intelligence Services Commissioner and the Surveillance Commissioners. It will also be subject to the scrutiny of the courts in respect of its handling of lawfully seized material and material lawfully acquired through the exercise of other statutory powers.
The first head of NTAC will be Assistant Chief Constable, Ian Humphreys, who has joined the Home Office on secondment from Kent County Constabulary where he was Head of Criminal Investigation.