Laura Sharman 28 May 2015

Councils spent 42,000 days ‘snooping’ on public

An investigation has revealed councils spent 42,000 days on covert and direct surveillance operations, ‘snooping’ on pigeon feeders and motorists.

A freedom of information request conducted by Channel 4, found local authorities used the regulatory investigative powers act (RIPA) to spend 42,000 days ‘snooping’ on citizens between April 2012 and January 2015.

The surveillance targets included drivers who parked in disabled parking bays and people feeding pigeons.

The investigation found Warrington Council had the highest number of RIPA use, with 69 operations accruing 6,357 days.

A council spokesperson told Channel 4: said: ‘We have used RIPA powers to recover fraudulently claimed benefits and for trading standards investigations, including the sale of tobacco to minors. We use this legitimate tool in combating crime and always use our powers responsibly, following the rules governing the use of the powers.

‘We have been audited by the Office of Surveillance Commissioners (responsible for overseeing the use of covert surveillance by designated public authorities) who endorsed our use of the RIPA powers to date.’

However, several councils said some surveillance operations lasted less time than expected, leading to concerns councils are being granted more powers from the courts than necessary.

SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Payroll Specialist

Essex County Council
Up to £34805 per annum + + 26 Days Leave & Defined Benefits Pension
Closing Date
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Payroll & People Advisor - Permanent

Essex County Council
Up to £27338 per annum + + 25 Days Leave & Defined Benefit Pension
Closing Date
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Payroll & People Advisor - 12-month Fixed Term Contract

Essex County Council
Up to £27338 per annum + + 25 Days Leave & Defined Benefit Pension
Payroll & People Advisor - 12-month Fixed Term Contract Closing Date
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Senior Waste Manager

Isle of Wight Council
£42,923 to £46,402 per annum
We are seeking to appoint a highly motivated individual County Hall, Newport / Agile
Recuriter: Isle of Wight Council

Engineer (Client Team)

Manchester City Council
£35,336 to £39,571 (Bar at £38,553) per annum 
The post holder will be responsible for supporting the Client Team Manager Manchester, Greater Manchester
Recuriter: Manchester City Council

Partner Content

Circular highways is a necessity not an aspiration – and it’s within our grasp

Shell is helping power the journey towards a circular paving industry with Shell Bitumen LT R, a new product for roads that uses plastics destined for landfill as part of the additives to make the bitumen.

Support from Effective Energy Group for Local Authorities to Deliver £430m Sustainable Warmth Funded Energy Efficiency Projects

Effective Energy Group is now offering its support to the 40 Local Authorities who have received a share of the £430m to deliver their projects on the ground by surveying properties and installing measures.

Pay.UK – the next step in Bacs’ evolution

Dougie Belmore explains how one of the main interfaces between you and Bacs is about to change.