Chapter 8
Criminal prosecutions

Use of national security information by the Police

8.12Section 8C of the Government Communications Security Bureau Act 2003 provides that one of the functions of the GCSB is to cooperate with and provide advice and assistance to the Police. Section 4H of the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service Act 1969 provides that, for the purpose of preventing or detecting serious crime in New Zealand or any other country, the Director of Security may communicate material that comes into the possession of the NZSIS to the Police or to any other persons and in any manner that the Director thinks fit.

8.13These provisions are an important part of the context for the use of national security information by the Police. It is outside the scope of this project to consider how the Police proceed once they receive national security information relevant to their law enforcement role. We accept, however, that there is a public interest in ensuring Police are able to undertake investigations on the basis of information provided by security and intelligence agencies in order to protect public safety. If the Police are concerned about the information being released in a downstream proceeding, it may hamper their investigations. If security and intelligence agencies do not have confidence that information will remain protected, they might not pass this information to the Police, which could lead to a situation where there are unnecessary risks to public safety. For the purposes of the present review, we are concerned to ensure that Police can undertake investigations based on national security information without facing the risk that this information will need to be disclosed in court proceedings that stem from the investigations. We draw a distinction between evidence used in proceedings and information used in Police investigations and law enforcement activities.