Coun­cil un­der fire for use of spy law

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - News -

A COUN­CIL has been crit­i­cised for the con­tro­ver­sial use of “spying laws” which al­low them to put res­i­dents un­der sur­veil­lance.

South Hol­land District Coun­cil used the Reg­u­la­tion of In­ves­ti­ga­tory Pow­ers Act (RIPA) 27 times in two years, with neigh­bour­ing coun­cils in South Kesteven and Bos­ton us­ing them just four and seven times re­spec­tively.

Out of the 27 times it used the pow­ers, 26 in­stances were for in­ves­ti­gat­ing anti-so­cial be­hav­iour, with the last one for a fraud mat­ter.

No prose­cu­tions were re­ported by the coun­cil as a re- sult of us­ing RIPA.

Cam­paign group Big Brother Watch said that the fig­ures were “par­tic­u­larly high” for a coun­cil of that size.

Cam­paign di­rec­tor Dylan Sharpe said: “It’s all very well coun­cils say­ing they are go­ing out and tack­ling prob­lems but these are in­no­cent peo­ple put un­der sur­veil­lance for all kinds of pur­poses.”

In re­ply, head of le­gal and mem­ber ser­vices Jim Scars­brook said: “Al­though we can­not say why we have used the pow­ers more than some other au­thor­i­ties, we con­sider our use of the pow­ers to be rea­son­able and jus­ti­fied.”

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