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Tony Eastaugh named as new biometrics and surveillance camera commissioner


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Tony Eastaugh
Tony Eastaugh
Image source: GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0

The home secretary has appointed Tony Eastaugh as the new biometrics and surveillance camera commissioner.

He was previously the director general for immigration enforcement and a commander in the Metropolitan Police for 12 years.

The biometrics and surveillance camera commissioner roles were established by the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 which set out the rules on police use and retention of DNA and fingerprints, and to promote appropriate overt use of surveillance camera systems by relevant authorities in England and Wales.

Eastaugh’s oversight of biometrics will be for a limited period, as the roles are due to be abolished and the biometrics casework functions transferred to the Investigatory Powers Commissioner’s Office.

He replaces Dr Fraser Sampson, who recently stood down citing a pre-existing plan to leave the country for an extended period for personal reasons, and that elements of the bill will make the functions of the surveillance camera commissioner superfluous.

First words

Update:  In a statement made days after the appointment was announced, Eastaugh said: "I am looking forward to building on the superb work of my predecessors until the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill comes into effect in the spring. Thereafter, I will oversee a seamless transition of the function of this office into the new structures.

"Until then, my priorities will be to ensure that the biometrics casework, including National Security Determinations, is up to date and in good order to transfer to the Investigatory Powers Commissioner’s Office. I will also be closely reviewing the use of S63G applications within police forces to bring about increased safety and security for our communities.

"Additionally, I will be working with stakeholders to explore how some of my current responsibilities (that are not specifically mandated for transfer in the Bill) will be given continuity and upheld.

"Whilst in post, I intend to engage with as many of the key parties operating in this critical arena as possible."

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