During 2023 public and stakeholder concern was building in response to media coverage of reports of inappropriate use, by the Police Service of Northern Ireland, of covert powers against journalists and latterly lawyers. 

In response to this concern, the Northern Ireland Policing Board requested the Chief Constable to provide a report giving reassurance that the powers were being used appropriately, lawfully, proportionately and only where necessary, so as to maintain confidence in the Police Service. 

In April 2024 the Chief Constable provided an interim report and briefed the Policing Board on the issue. It was then agreed that a further detailed report would be provided, which would be publicly available.