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Changes to RIPA Removal of Surveillance Powers
The changes to the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 brought about by the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 come into force on 1st November. These effectively remove the option for Local Authority use of directed surveillance for anti-social behaviour activities including fly-tipping and dog fouling. There is a new test that only permits directed surveillance for criminal activity that could result in six months imprisonment, restricting Local Authority use of directed surveillance essentially to the investigation of underage alcohol sales. In addition, the Local Authority must obtain a magistrates approval for RIPA surveillance authorisations. The restrictions are being brought in following media stories raising concerns about the inappropriate use of these powers. However, the effective investigation of fly-tipping and other anti-social behaviour will be made much harder without the benefit of these powers.
The RIAMS procedures on RIPA are being amended to reflect these changes. The new Home Office guidance on these amended powers can be found in the Enforcement module in the Surveillance and RIPA sub-category.