31/05/2013 - Permalink

Shropshire Council seeks views on Regulation of Investigatory Powers Policy

Related topics: Community

Shropshire Council’s public protection team are advising stakeholders that the council has commenced a short consultation on its Regulation of Investigatory Powers Policy.

The council is following best working practice in preparing and publishing the policy, which aims to make it clear how the council intends to use covert techniques when undertaking operations and investigations.  These techniques include surveillance, the use of undercover officers and the acquisition of communications data.

The overarching position of the council is that covert techniques will not be used other than to obtain information or evidence to tackle serious criminality that causes significant harm or detriment to consumers or businesses, and to protect taxpayer’s money by tackling serious benefit fraud.  It must be clearly demonstrated to senior officers that no other investigation method or technique will deliver the required outcomes.  The council’s authorisation procedures ensure that the techniques may only be used when they are necessary, proportionate and the level of intrusion into other people’s lives is eliminated or reduced to a minimum.

Frances Darling, Shropshire Council’s service manager for safer and stronger communities within public protection, said: 

“The council is not legally required to prepare, publish or consult on this type of policy; however, we have taken this approach on a best practice basis because we want to hear the views of those people who may be affected by the policy.  I would encourage anyone who wishes to comment to do so over the next month.”

Steve Charmley, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member responsible for public protection, said:

“The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 is the law governing the use of covert techniques by public authorities and this clearly includes Shropshire Council.  The council is committed to balancing its enforcement activities against the requirement to protect individuals’ human rights, and consequently it is important that we get the policy right in this respect.  I would encourage everyone who has any concerns that our proposed policy does not achieve the right balance to make their views known as soon as possible, and clearly to do so before the consultation period ends on 26 June.”

The consultation period closes on Wednesday 26 June 2013.  The draft policy is available to view here

All comments and views should be made, and further advice may be sought from, Frances Darling at:-

Email: frances.darling@shropshire.gov.uk

Telephone: 0345 678 9000

Post: Public Protection, Shropshire Council, Shirehall, Abbey Foregate, Shrewsbury SY2 6ND.