Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) Policy
Some of the Council’s activities will necessarily require covert surveillance as part of their enforcement functions. Examples include Environment and Public Protection noise complaint investigations, Trading Standards investigations, planning or licensing enforcement. The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 provides the statutory framework for the operation of Covert Surveillance or use of Covert Human Intelligence Sources (also known as “CHIS”).
The Council is fully committed to complying with the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA) and the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA – the Act). To ensure compliance, all use of covert surveillance and of covert human intelligence sources, by officers of the Council (or agents acting on its behalf), falling within the scope of the Act, must be carried out with authorisation from a designated ‘Authorising Officer’ in the form prescribed in the procedure. In addition, as a result of changes introduced by the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, approval must also be sought from the Magistrates Court to permit the regulated activity to take place. The advice and approval of the Council’s Legal Services section should be obtained regarding the content of any application for authorisation and application to Court for Judicial approval.
In complying with RIPA, officers must have full regard to the relevant Codes of Practice issued by the Home Office. The Codes are available on the RIPA page of the Council’s intranet site and there is a link to the relevant Home Office web page (external link).