Tuesday, April 07, 2009
The Grim RIPA - Local Government Spies
Not for the first time on this site has our old "friend" The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) appeared with the depressing inevitability of an unloved season.
Recent figures obtained from 400 councils show that thousands of council staff have been authorised to use RIPA, which according to Nanny was meant to be used against terrorists, covertly keep a watch on local voters et al.
Seemingly 20% of those using the powers were below senior management grade, and few of our "respected" and "trusted" local authorities demonstrated that they checked as to whether the powers were being used appropriately.
The figures show that 182 local authorities employed 1,615 staff who had used the powers 10,133 times in the past five years.
Less than 10% of surveillance missions resulted in a prosecution, caution or fixed penalty notice.
The powers were also used on 451 investigations into fly-tipping investigations and on 88 cases of unlawful dog fouling.
Other reasons included "establishing the identities of those taking fairy lights from a Christmas tree", "illegal sale of shellfish" and "unauthorised internet access by staff".
Maybe our own Home Economics Minister (sorry, Home Secretary) would have benefited from her council spying on her husband...thus preventing him from claiming for watching porn, and defrauding the public purse?
The point being that by using these powers for trivia, Nanny and her braindead chums in the local councils are eroding the public's trust in the political system and making a mockery of the legislation intended for the prevention of terrorism.
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