Sunday, 7 September 2008

Councils using surveillance powers

Wide-ranging surveillance powers introduced to tackle terrorism and serious crime are being used regularly by councils to tackle relatively minor problems, according to figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

Among 115 councils which responded to inquiries from the Sunday Telegraph, some 89 said they had instigated investigations under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa) over the past year, with the number of cases over the course of 12 months reaching at least 867.

The powers were used to tackle problems like anti-social behaviour, noise nuisance, benefit fraud and dog fouling.

Some councils recruited children to go into shops wired up with secret recording equipment to detect under-age sales of alcohol or cigarettes.

When Ripa was passed by Parliament in 2000, its powers to conduct surveillance operations and intercept communications were available to only a handful of organisations, including the police and security services. But former home secretary David Blunkett extended the list in 2003 to include a wide range of bodies, including councils.

Durham County Council was the biggest user of Ripa powers over the past year, with just over 100 investigations launched during the period, according to the figures obtained by the Sunday Telegraph. Newcastle City Council used the powers 82 times and Middlesbrough Council 70 times.

Some councils told the paper they had placed houses under video surveillance, while others said council staff had followed residents to see whether they were working while claiming benefit.

Full story here


Knowledge Is Power said...

I've now added your blog to the blog list on Books for Patriots. Apologies for the delay.azbvazvj

gatesofvienna said...

Immigrants’ Calypso
or how the English are dummies
Acrobat pdf version

I come for visit, treated regal,
So I stay, who care illegal?

I come here, poor and broke,
I take bus, see employment folk.
Nice man treat me good in there,
He say I need see welfare.

Welfare say, "You come no more,
We send cash right to your door."
Welfare cheques, they make you wealthy,
National Health it keep you healthy!

By and by, I got plenty money,
Thanks to you, English dummy.
Write to friends in motherland,
Tell them come as fast as can.

They come in rags and Chebby trucks,
I buy big house with welfare bucks.
They come here, we live together,
More welfare cheques, it gets better!

Fourteen families they moving in,
But neighbor's patience wearing thin.
Finally, white guy moves away,
Now I buy his house, and then I say,

"Find more aliens for house to rent."
And in the yard I put a tent.
Send for family (they just trash),
But they too, draw welfare cash!

Everything is very good,
And soon we own the neighborhood.
We have hobby - it's called breeding,
Welfare pay for baby feeding.

Kids need dentist? Wife need pills?
We get free! We got no bills!
English crazy! He pay all year,
To keep welfare running here.

We think England darn good place!
Too darn good for the white man race.
They can go, I'll care the least,
Got lots of room in Middle East!