We can ensure that local authorities are fully compliant with Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 “RIPA” as amended by the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 and thus demonstrate respect for Human Rights in a cost-effective way that also frees up internal resources:
- Help develop a policy statement if one is not already in place
- Provide authorisation, review, cancellation and Justice of the Peace approval processes
- Provide approved documentation where and when it is needed
- Train personnel to the necessary depth dependant on their role and refresh this as necessary
- Maintain training records
- Scrutinise applications, when and if they can be authorised present them to the Authorising Officer or Designated Person with annotation to ensure that the authorisation itself is an efficient use of the authorisers time
- Maintain records of applications and respond to Freedom of Information requests
- Ensure governance, confidentiality and scrutiny of processes
- Co-ordinate and manage inspections by the Office of the Surveillance Commissioner
- Provide real time advise on alternative methods of evidence collection to avoid the use of covert techniques
This will ensure that you preserve your organisational reputation by avoiding:
- being linked to media stories of inappropriate uses of covert techniques and
- falling foul of the Office of the Surveillance Commissioner.
It will demonstrate to the council tax payers in your area that you take the preservation of their human rights seriously, whilst using the most efficient method to detect and prevent crime, without placing an undue burden on your most senior officers, so that they can deliver the services that they do best.
For an informal, no obligation discussion please get in touch, telling us the best time to contact you and we will get back to you.
What is RIPA
The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, RIPA, stipulates how and in what circumstances Local Authorities can use covert investigation methods. In itself, it does not give any powers to carry out such activities.
Using RIPA ensures that Local Authority officers carry out covert activities compatibly with the European Convention of Human Rights and especially article 8 the right to respect for private and family life.
The techniques can only be used where it is considered necessary to investigate a suspected crime or disorder and it is proportionate i.e. the seriousness of the offence outweighs the seriousness of the intrusion into privacy and whether the information can be obtained by other (less intrusive) means.
Local Authorities can use three covert techniques:
Use of all of these techniques has to be authorised internally by an Authorising Officer or a Designated Person for communications data. The Authorising Officer or Designated Person has to be a Head of Service, Service Manager or equivalent, a Principal Trading Standards Officer is not of sufficient seniority. The Head of Paid Service or person acting as such must give authorisation of:
- directed surveillance or the use of a CHIS likely to obtain defined confidential information or
- the deployment of a juvenile or vulnerable person (by virtue of mental or other condition) as a CHIS
The Local Authority authorisations and notices can only be given effect once an order approving the authorisation or notice has been granted by a Justice of the Peace.