Security Service Act 1989

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Security Service Act 1989
Long title An Act to place the Security Service on a statutory basis; to enable certain actions to be taken on the authority of warrants issued by the Secretary of State, with provision for the issue of such warrants to be kept under review by a Commissioner; to establish a procedure for the investigation by a Tribunal or, in some cases, by the Commissioner of complaints about the Service; and for connected purposes.
Citation 1989 c 5
Introduced by Douglas Hurd
Royal assent 27 April 1989[1]
Commencement 18 December 1989[2]
Other legislation
Relates to Intelligence Services Act 1994, Security Service Act 1996
Status: Amended
Text of statute as originally enacted

The Security Service Act 1989 (c 5) is an Act of the United Kingdom Parliament. The Act established a statutory basis of the UK Security Service (MI5) for the first time. Prior to the Act, despite its operation since 1909, successive UK governments had denied the existence of MI5. The Act begins, "There shall continue to be a Security Service .."

The first section defines the function of the Service as

the protection of national security and, in particular, its protection against threats from espionage, terrorism and sabotage, from the activities of agents of foreign powers and from actions intended to overthrow or undermine parliamentary democracy by political, industrial or violent means.

In the next paragraph it adds the further function, "to safeguard the economic well-being of the United Kingdom against threats posed by the actions or intentions of persons outside the British Islands."

The Act was amended by the Security Service Act 1996 to include supporting the police and other law enforcement agencies in the prevention and detection of serious crime.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hansard. HL Deb 27 April 1989 vol 506 c1402
  2. ^ Statutory Instrument 1989 No. 2093 (C.64). The Security Service Act 1989 (Commencement) Order 1989. Accessed 30 April 2018

External links[edit]