RIPA - a snooper's charter?

Surveillance powers designed to tackle terrorism have been used by North councils hundreds of times for minor crimes such as littering and dog fouling.

Councils in the region invoked the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa) on 456 occasions in the last five years to investigate offences ranging from benefit fraud, dog fouling, littering and under-age drinking, according to details disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act.

Across England and Wales, a survey of 182 district and unitary councils showed Ripa has been used 10,288 times — although less than one in 10 inquiries resulted in any form of penalty.

The Liberal Democrats, who obtained the details, warned Ripa was becoming a “snooper’s charter”.

Fears as North councils snoop on public (Sunday Sun, 29 March 2009)