Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA)

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:

Surveillance 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.

Our commitment

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 (GOV.UK) 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

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.

Application forms

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 (GOV.UK).

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.

Our policy and guidance

Documents:

Derbyshire Dales District Council only carries out covert surveillance where such action is justified and endeavours to keep such surveillance to a minimum. It recognises the importance of complying with Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) when such an investigation is for the purpose of preventing or detecting crime or preventing disorder and has produced this guidance document to assist officers.

Applications for Authority

All requests for authorisation of directed surveillance or a Covert Human Intelligence Source (CHIS) under RIPA must be approved in advance by an Authorising Officer. An Authorising Officer is a person who has been delegated power to act in that capacity. A list of officers who have, to date, been authorised, is annexed to the policy document at appendix F and is subject to regular review and updating by the Head of Corporate Services and the Solicitor. Any incomplete or inadequate application forms will be returned to the applicant for amendment. The authorising officer shall in particular ensure that:

  • there is a satisfactory reason for carrying out the surveillance, and the serious crime threshold is met (see 6.2 of policy document)
  • the covert nature of the investigation is necessary
  • proper consideration has been given to collateral intrusion
  • the proposed length and extent of the surveillance is proportionate to the information being sought
  • the authorisations are reviewed and cancelled
  • the authorisations are sent to Legal Services for entry onto the Central Register.
  • Once authorisation has been obtained from the Authorising Officer, the Investigating Officer, accompanied by the Solicitor where appropriate, will attend the Magistrates' Court in order to obtain Judicial Approval for the authorisation.

Training

All officers with an enforcement or investigatory function should receive training on the provisions of RIPA. All authorising officers will receive external training every 3 years with annual update briefings from the Solicitor as the RIPA Monitoring Officer.

Central Register and Records

Legal Services shall facilitate and retain the Central Register of all authorisations issued by Derbyshire Dales District Council. The Solicitor to the Council will monitor the content of the application forms and authorisations to ensure conformity and compliance with RIPA.

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