The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) was introduced in 2000 to give public authorities a legal framework to follow if they are carrying out surveillance. Local authorities have always been able to carry out surveillance - RIPA now regulates that use and provides the council with protection against any breach of Article 8 of the Human Rights Act.
Local authorities are only allowed to carry out surveillance under RIPA for preventing or detecting a criminal offence which would be punishable by a prison sentence of at least six months. Currently under RIPA we can only carry out directed covert surveillance.
Before using RIPA we need to show a valid reason for its use and consideration will be given to the use of less intrusive methods first. We also have to obtain Magistrate's approval before any surveillance is carried out.
You can read the council's RIPA policy below:
The council's Audit and Accounts Committee receives regular reports on our use of RIPA.
Data Protection Officer
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