Northern Ireland’s Chief Constable Jon Boutcher has issued a statement announcing that Angus McCullough KC, 1 Crown Office Row, will conduct an independent review of any PSNI use of surveillance against journalists, lawyers and non-governmental organisations. This follows concerns that have arisen from documents disclosed during an Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) proceedings being heard in London. The IPT is considering allegations that investigative reporters Barry McCaffrey and Trevor Birney were subject to unlawful covert intelligence. It has been claimed that police were using surveillance powers against several journalists that had been deemed “troublemakers”, and their phone data was being trawled every six months to establish if they had been in contact with police sources. Mr. Boutcher’s statement asserts that the documents have been misinterpreted in public comments on them. He concluded: “To add further reassurance, and in line with my statutory duties to report to the Board, I have also appointed Angus McCullough KC to conduct an independent review of any PSNI use of surveillance against journalists, lawyers and Non-Governmental Organisations or any groups that have special status. His role will not extend to anything that is currently within the scope of the IPT proceedings.” The Chief Constable added: “Angus McCullough KC is recognised as a leading Special Advocate in practice in the United Kingdom” and that his review “will provide a public-facing report of his findings when the review is finished.” A group of experts and stakeholders, including representatives of Amnesty international, Committee on the Administration of Justice, the NI Human Right Commission, the Law Society and the NUJ has been formed “to advise and provide direction to the work of the reviewer”. https://lnkd.in/ggfGChCF