The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) and its supporting secondary legislation, the Lawful Business Practice Regulations 2000 are part of the government's crime fighting agenda and cover two main areas:
- Monitoring/interception of electronic communications eg: e-mail or internet use
Their main purpose is to ensure that relevant investigatory powers are used in accordance with human rights (Human Rights Act 1998). It provides a legal framework for authoring investigations where the investigation is for the purposes of preventing or detecting crime or for preventing disorder.
We are committed to implementing the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act in a manner that is consistent with the spirit and letter of Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act and the Human Rights Act. We are committed to conducting all relevant actions in a manner which strikes a balance between the rights of the individual and the legitimate interests of the public.
Codes of Practice
We have regard to the Codes of Practice that are issued on these matters. These help us assess and understand whether and in what circumstances it is appropriate to use covert techniques.
Regulation of Investigatory Powers are very carefully regulated and monitored, and we are inspected regularly by the Office of Surveillance Commissioners and and the Interception of Communications Commissioner's Office. We have received good inspection reports.
From November 2012 a Magistrate will have to authorise any application we submit to use these powers.
Our policy and guidance
Please visit the RIPA Policy & Guidance webpage to view our full policy.
The various forms for making an application are available from the Home Office website.
Before a person representing us makes an application under Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, they are required to download and read and understand the appropriate Codes of Practice.
When do we use our investigatory powers?
We only use the powers when necessary to catch people who cost the council and the taxpayer money - for example fly-tippers or fraudulent benefit claimants.
What powers do you use?
We are asked regularly about what powers we use, however we are unable to reply to such questions as releasing too much detail could compromise our ability to prosecute offenders.