The Sunday Telegraph reported that 75% of Nanny's local authorities have used the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) 2000 over the past year.
The Act gives councils the right to place residents and businesses under surveillance, trace telephone and email accounts and even send staff on undercover missions.
Nanny's councils are using the Act to tackle dog fouling, the unauthorised sale of pizzas and the abuse of the blue badge scheme for disabled drivers.
Durham county council is the biggest user, with just over 100 surveillance operations launched during the period. Newcastle city council used the powers 82 times, and Middlesbrough council 70 times.
Whilst dog fouling, bin crimes, benefit abuse, noise etc are issues that need to be addressed; is the use of RIPA (intended to fight serious crime and terrorism) really the most appropriate response to these issues?
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