Note: Read the entire article, the procedure of snooping is not being prohibited, it is now merely reserved for higher ups within the councils.
Town Hall Stasi are to be stripped of the power to spy on residents suspected of ‘bin crimes’ and dog fouling.
Rules unveiled by the Home Office today will prevent councils from using the anti-terror Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act for trivial offences.
It follows a string of revelations by the Daily Mail about over-zealous officials using hidden cameras and even paying undercover agents to trail the law-abiding public.
These include spying on people suspected of putting bins out early, littering and cheating school catchment area rules. All of these are highlighted in today’s draft code as cases where undercover surveillance could not be justified.
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Launching a consultation on the future of RIPA, ahead of a final set of rules due later this year, the Home Office raises the prospect of Town Halls being stripped of the right to use the Act.
However, they may be allowed to continue using it for restricted offences.
The new rules are also likely to see the power to make a RIPA authorisation passed to executive officers only, rather than low-ranking bureaucrats.
The local government minister, John Healy is writing to councils to say their future use of the powers must be ‘ proportionate’.
It follows several cases in which innocent people were targeted under the Act, including a family who were spied on for two weeks by Poole Borough Council, in Dorset. It wrongly suspected them of cheating school catchment area rules.