RIPA corporate policy and procedures for covert surveillance Part 2

| I. Working With / Through Other Agencies |


1. When some other agency has been instructed on behalf of the Council to undertake any action under RIPA, this document and the forms in it must be used (as per normal procedure) and the agency advised or kept informed, as necessary, of the various requirements. They must be made aware explicitly what they are authorised to do.


2. When some other agency (e.g. Police, HMRC, Home Office, etc): -


(a) wish to use the Council’s resources (e.g. CCTV surveillance systems), that agency must use its own RIPA procedures and, before any officer agrees to allow the Council’s resources to be used for the other agency’s purposes, s/he must obtain a copy of that agency’s RIPA authorisation for the record (a copy of which must be passed to the Solicitor to the Council for the Central Register) and/or relevant extracts from the same which are sufficient for the purposes of protecting the Council and the use of its resources;


(b) wish to use the Council’s premises for their own RIPA action, the officer should, normally, co-operate with the same, unless there are security or other good operational or managerial reasons as to why the Council’s premises should not be used for the agency’s activities. Suitable insurance or other appropriate indemnities may be sought, if necessary, from the other agency for the Council’s co-operation in the agent’s RIPA operation. In such cases, however, the Council’s own RIPA forms should not be used as the Council is only ‘assisting’ not being ‘involved’ in the RIPA activity of the external agency.


3. In terms of 2(a), if the Police or other Agency wish to use Council resources for general surveillance, as opposed to specific RIPA operations, an appropriate letter requesting the proposed use, extent of remit, duration, who will be undertaking the general surveillance and the purpose of it must be obtained from the Police or other Agency before any Council resources are made available for the proposed use.


4. If in doubt, please consult with the Solicitor to the Council at the earliest opportunity.


| J. Record Management |


1. The Council must keep a detailed record of all authorisations, renewals, cancellations, rejections, and errors, and a Central Register of all Authorisation Forms will be maintained and will be monitored by the Solicitor to the Council.


2. Records Maintained


The following documents must be retained by the each Authorising Officer for such purposes;


· a copy of the forms together with any supplementary documentation and notification of the approval given by the Authorising Officer and warrant obtained from the Magistrate; to include the date the authorisation and warrant granted and the name and job title of the authorising officer. A brief description of the investigation and the names of those being surveilled if known;

· a record of the period over which the surveillance has taken place;


· the frequency of reviews prescribed by the Authorising Officer;


· a record of the result of each review of the authorisation;


· a copy of any renewal of an authorisation and warrant obtained from the Magistrate, together with the supporting documentation submitted when the renewal was requested;


· the date and time when any instruction was given by the Authorising Officer;


· Date authorisation cancelled


· Date of any refusal to grant and authorisation.


· Any errors (i.e. failures to obtain an authorisation when one was required)


· the Unique Reference Number for the authorisation (URN).


3. Each form will have a URN. The Authorising Officer will issue the relevant URN to Applicants. The cross-referencing of each URN takes place within the forms for inspection purposes. Rejected forms will also have URN’s.


Central Register maintained by the Solicitor to the Council


4. Authorising Officers must place details of each application on the Central Register, within 1 week of the authorisation, review, renewal, cancellation or rejection. The Solicitor to the Council will monitor the same and give appropriate guidance, from time to time, or amend this document, as necessary.


5. The Council will retain records for a period of at least three years from the ending of the authorisation. The Investigatory Powers Commissioner (IPC) can inspect the Council’s policies and procedures, and individual authorisations.


6. Any errors; that is failures to obtain authorisation when an authorisation should have been obtained need to be notified to the Solicitor to the Council within one working day of it becoming apparent that an error has been made. They should also be logged on the central register. The Solicitor to the Council will investigate and will no later than 10 working days after the error having become apparent will notify the Investigatory Powers Commissioner.


7. The Solicitor to the Council will undertake a regular review of all errors and provide advice and guidance on how to avoid continuing occurrences.


Retention and Destruction of Evidence


8. Where evidence gathered from surveillance could be relevant to future or pending court proceedings, it should be retained in accordance with established disclosure requirements for a suitable period, commensurate to any subsequent review. Particular attention should be paid to the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996 which requires evidence gathered in criminal investigations to be recorded and retained.


9. All private information obtained during the course of a directed surveillance should be maintained securely and only be made available to officers entitled to view it in order to undertake their investigation, or for the purposes of conducting criminal proceedings. Officers handling private information should familiarize themselves with Home Office codes of practice on the handling of such information;

See chapter 9 of the Covert Surveillance and Property Interference Code of Practice, and chapter 8 of the Covert Human Intelligence Sources Code of Practice.



| K. Concluding Remarks of the Solicitor to the Council |


1. Where there is an interference with the right to respect for private life and family guaranteed under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, and where there is no other source of lawful authority for the interference, or if it is held not to be necessary or proportionate to the circumstances, the consequences of not obtaining or following the correct authorisation procedure set out in RIPA and this document, may be that the action (and the evidence obtained) will be held to be unlawful by the Courts pursuant to Section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998.


2. Obtaining an authorisation under RIPA and following this document, will ensure, therefore, that the action is carried out in accordance with the law and subject to stringent safeguards against abuse of anyone’s human rights.


3. Authorising Officers must exercise their minds every time they are asked to sign a form. They must never sign or rubber stamp forms without thinking about their personal and the Council’s responsibilities.


4. Any boxes not needed on the form(s) must be clearly marked as being ‘NOT APPLICABLE’, ‘N/A’ or a line put through the same. Great care must also be taken to ensure accurate information is used and is inserted in the correct boxes. Reasons for any refusal of an application must also be kept on the form and the form retained for future inspections.


5. For further advice and assistance on RIPA, please contact the Council’s Solicitor to the Council (who is also the Council’s Monitoring Officer). The Solicitor to the Council will also act as Senior Responsible Officer (SRO)




Appendix 1 – List of Authorising Officer Posts


| Officer |
| |
| Chief Executive (only where confidential information is likely to be acquired, or where it is proposed to use juveniles or vulnerable persons as covert human intelligence sources) |
| |
| Director of Community and Environmental Services |
| |
| Head of Regulatory Services |
| Head of Finance (Financial Shared Services) |
| |
| Head of Community Services |
| |

Important Notes


A. Only the Chief Executive is authorised to sign forms relating to Juvenile Sources and Vulnerable Individuals (See chapter F).

B. If the Chief Executive wishes to add, delete or substitute a post, s/he must refer such request to the Solicitor to the Council for consideration, as necessary.

C. If in doubt, ask the Solicitor to the Council BEFORE any directed surveillance and/or CHIS application is authorised, renewed, rejected or cancelled.








NB: If in doubt, ask the Solicitor to the Council BEFORE any directed surveillance, and/or CHIS, application is authorised, renewed, cancelled or rejected.