Fraud and corruption
Pages in Fraud and corruption
- 1. Fraud and corruption
- 2. Transparency
- 3. Anti-Money Laundering Policy
- 4. Counter Fraud, Corruption and Bribery Statement
- 5. Whistle Blowing Policy
- 6. Interviews under Caution
- 7. You are here: Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) corporate policy and procedures
- 8. Civil Fine for Single Persons Discount
7. Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) corporate policy and procedures
A brief overview of RIPA
The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act - GOV.UK (the Act) was introduced by Parliament in 2000. The Act sets out the reasons for which the use of directed surveillance (DS) and covert human intelligence source (CHIS) may be authorised.
Local Authorities' abilities to use these investigation methods are restricted in nature and may only be used for the prevention and detection of crime or the prevention of disorder. Local Authorities are not able to use intrusive surveillance.
Widespread, and often misinformed, reporting led to public criticism of the use of surveillance by some Local Authority enforcement officers and investigators. Concerns were also raised about the trivial nature of some of the 'crimes' being investigated. This led to a review of the legislation and ultimately the introduction of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 - GOV.UK and the RIPA (Directed Surveillance and CHIS) (Amendment) Order 2012 (Appendix 2).
Examples of when local authorities may use RIPA and CHIS are as follows:
- Enforcement of anti-social behaviour orders and legislation relating to unlawful child labour
- Housing and or planning – interventions to stop and make remedial action against unregulated and unsafe buildings, breaches of preservation orders, cases of landlord harassment
- Counter Fraud – investigating allegations of fraud, bribery, corruption and theft committed against the Council; and
- Environment protection – action to stop large-scale waste dumping, the sale of unfit food and illegal 'raves'.
The examples do not replace the key principles of necessity and proportionality or the advice and guidance available from the relevant oversight Commissioners.
The RIPA (Communications Data) order came into force in 2004. It allows Local Authorities to acquire communications data, namely service data and subscriber details for limited purposes.
Directed surveillance (DS) and covert human intelligence source (CHIS)
The use of DS or a CHIS must be necessary and proportionate to the alleged crime or disorder. Usually, it will be a tool of last resort, to be used only when all other less intrusive lines of enquiry have been used or considered.
Necessary and proportionate
A person granting an authorisation for directed surveillance must consider why it is necessary to use covert surveillance in the investigation and believe that the activities to be authorised are necessary on one or more statutory grounds.
If the activities are deemed necessary, the authoriser must also believe that they are proportionate to what is being sought to be achieved by carrying them out. This involves balancing the seriousness of the intrusion into the privacy of the subject of the operation (or any other person who may be affected) against the need for the activity in investigative and operational terms.
The authorisation will not be proportionate if it is excessive in the overall circumstances of the case.
Full Codes of Practice can be found on the Home Office website:
Covert Surveillance & Property Interference:
Acquisition and Disclosure of Communications Data:
Further information can also be found on The IPCO website:
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Telephone: 01737 276 020
Fraud & Financial Investigations Team
Reigate and Banstead Borough Council
See the full document in PDF format: Reigate and Banstead Borough Council RIPA Policy.
|Author||Michaela Lambart||Fraud Manager|
|Owner||Simon Rosser||Head of Revenues, Benefit and Fraud|
|Reviewed by||Michaela Lambart||July 2022|
|Next Review due by||Michaela Lambart||July 2024|
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