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Policing and Crime Act 2009

Section 26 Penalty for contravening notice relating to encrypted information

186.Section 26 amends section 53 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) (failure to comply with notice relating to encrypted information). Section 53 RIPA makes it an offence to knowingly fail to comply with a notice given under section 49 RIPA. Such notices impose disclosure requirements in relation to protected information. Under section 53(5A) the maximum sentence on indictment for failing to comply with a section 49 notice is five years in a national security case or two years in any other case.

187.Section 26(2) amends subsection (5A)(a) of section 53 of RIPA so that a maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment is available in relation to ‘a child indecency case’, as well as in relation to a national security case.

188.Section 26(3) adds new subsections (6) and (7) to section 53 of RIPA. New subsection (6) says that a ‘child indecency case’ is one in which the grounds for issuing a notice relating to encrypted information were or included a belief that the notice was necessary for the purpose of preventing or detecting an offence under any of the provisions listed in subsection (7). New subsection (7) specifies five offences relating to showing, taking or possessing an indecent photograph of a child.

189.Section 26(4) states that the amendments made by this section apply in relation to cases in which the section 49 notice was given after the commencement of this section.

190.Schedule 7 paragraph 25 adds the offences in sections 53 and 54 RIPA (contravention of notice relating to encrypted information or tipping off in connection with such a notice) to Schedule 5 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003. This means that sexual offences prevention orders can be imposed on people convicted of these offences where a court is satisfied that it is necessary to make such an order for the purpose of protecting the public or any particular members of the public from serious sexual harm from the offender.

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