Surveillance powers of local councils
Produced in partnership with Carolina Bracken of 5 Paper Buildings
Surveillance powers of local councils

The following Corporate Crime practice note Produced in partnership with Carolina Bracken of 5 Paper Buildings provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Surveillance powers of local councils
  • Surveillance powers available to councils
  • Surveillance cameras and CCTV systems
  • Covert surveillance powers for local councils
  • Surveillance inspection and practice
  • Council application for acquisition of communications data
  • Impact of the Protection of Freedoms Act on surveillance operations

IP COMPLETION DAY: 11pm (GMT) on 31 December 2020 marks the end of the Brexit transition/implementation period entered into following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. At this point in time (referred to in UK law as ‘IP completion day’), key transitional arrangements come to an end and significant changes begin to take effect across the UK’s legal regime. This document contains guidance on subjects impacted by these changes. Before continuing your research, see Practice Note: What does IP completion day mean for corporate crime?

The Investigatory Powers Act 2016 (IPA 2016) overhauls the legal framework governing the use of covert surveillance by public bodies, a framework which was largely, but not exclusively, set out by the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA 2000).

This Practice Note has been updated to reflect the position under RIPA 2000 as well as the changes made by IPA 2016.

Note that a Bill is currently before Parliament to enable certain public authorities to authorise criminal conduct by covert human intelligence sources: Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill. For more information, see Practice Note: Bills tracker for corporate crime practitioners—Parliamentary session commencing December 2019—Regulation of intelligence gathering.

Surveillance powers available to councils

There are three types of surveillance techniques available to local authorities:

  1. the acquisition and disclosure of communications data (such as telephone billing information or subscriber details)

  2. directed surveillance (covert surveillance of

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