Public authorities have powers of surveillance which they can use to investigate serious criminal offences. Covert surveillance occurs where the subject of the surveillance is unaware that it is happening. As a result, private information may be acquired.
Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA)
RIPA sets out a framework to regulate how certain types of covert surveillance are carried out. It aims to ensure that human rights concerns are addressed at all times, and to ensure that potentially invasive surveillance is carried out only where it is a necessary and proportionate response to the situation.
At Eastbourne we use covert surveillance only exceptionally and as a last resort. All officers considering covert surveillance must follow a detailed process which requires senior officers of the Council to review and authorise the activity before it can take place. Strict tests are carried out before authorisation is given.
Need more information?
The Office of Surveillance Commissioners' website provides further information on the law and on how it is to be used.
Cabinet Report & Surveillance Policy
Download the reports and policy below:
New statutory codes of practice on RIPA came into force on 6 April 2010 and are available at the Home Office website, along with other relevant information.