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. Whilst local authorities have always been able to carry out surveillance - RIPA now regulates that use and provides the council with guidance and authority to use those powers. The introduction of RIPA also provides some degree of legal protection for a potential claim of a breach of Article 8 of the Human Rights Act.
Local authorities are only allowed to carry out such 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, Local Authorities/Councils are only able to 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 seeking to use RIPA. Magistrate's approval has to be obtained, before any surveillance is carried out.
If you have any queries regarding the Councils use of RIPA, please see our policies on this webpage, which the Council has to follow. Alternatively, you can contact the Council's Senior Responsible Officer, who is the Director of Legal & Monitoring Officer or the RIPA Co-Ordinating Officer, who is the information Officer.
You can also contact the Investigatory Powers Commissioners Office (external link) for any enquiries.