Police Scotland has reportedly breached the Save Our Sources law – preventing forces from obtaining phone records to find journalistic sources without judicial approval – on “multiple” occasions.
In July, it emerged that two police forces have secretly accessed phone records to find sources under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act without a judge’s approval since the law was changed.
This practice was outlawed in March this year following Press Gazette’s six-month Save Our Sources campaign.
In August, the Sunday Herald reported that Police Scotland was one of the forces to have breached this law by accessing call data to find journalists’ sources without judicial approval and was being investigated bythe Interception of Communications Commissioner’s Office (IOCCO).
The Sunday Herald reported this weekend that “several more examples [of the force’s Counter Corruption Unit misusing RIPA in this way] have now also been flushed out”.
When IOCCO revealed that two police forces had breached the Save Our Sources law, Prime Minister David Cameron said: “This was a serious error.”
The watchdog said it would inform the journalists involved if it uncovered “wilful or reckless failure” by the forces.
Press Gazette has contacted Police Scotland for comment. A spokesman told the Sunday Herald: “IOCCO has clearly set out rationale for not identifying organisations in its report and therefore it would be inappropriate to comment.”
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