Council’s ‘big brother’ tactics to snare doorstep criminals

First published in Headlines

OXFORDSHIRE County Council has used so-called “snooping” powers 12 times in nine months under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA), a council report revealed.

The council’s use of the act is detailed in a report to the Safer and Stronger Communities Scrutiny Committee today.

The investigations were carried out by the council’s trading standards team between September 2011 and this May.

Six operations focused on the suspected sale of alcohol, tobacco and fireworks to underage teenagers and another targeted the suspected sale of counterfeit goods.

The council confirmed that surveillance cameras had been used to gather evidence in cases where it was suspected that doorstep crime was taking place.

A spokesman said: “The surveillance involved fitting a covert camera to the outside of a property of a doorstep crime victim, with their consent, to monitor visitors to the home.

“This is done where we suspect the victim is vulnerable to doorstep crime and they may be targeted again, or where the suspect is likely to return and we require identification evidence.”

The council said it was unable to provide details about cases or the results of its investigations.

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4:48pm Tue 19 Jun 12

Man on the Green says...

This sounds legitimate, but such has not always been the case. The thoroughly dysfunctional nature of the authority's Legal Service means that it is hard to argue that it should be trusted with such decisions. My own suggestion would be to set up an oversight committee, with independent membership (say a retired judge or other member of the judiciary), and not to leave this to an in-house decision-making process.
This sounds legitimate, but such has not always been the case. The thoroughly dysfunctional nature of the authority's Legal Service means that it is hard to argue that it should be trusted with such decisions. My own suggestion would be to set up an oversight committee, with independent membership (say a retired judge or other member of the judiciary), and not to leave this to an in-house decision-making process. Man on the Green
  • Score: 1

5:11pm Tue 19 Jun 12

EMBOX1 says...

Man on the Green wrote:
This sounds legitimate, but such has not always been the case. The thoroughly dysfunctional nature of the authority's Legal Service means that it is hard to argue that it should be trusted with such decisions. My own suggestion would be to set up an oversight committee, with independent membership (say a retired judge or other member of the judiciary), and not to leave this to an in-house decision-making process.
Do they get expenses and a database? More committees = more bureaucracy and thus more cost to you and I.

Laudable though their aims are (I hate people who prey on the vunerable) this should be done by the Police and not the council. We need to axe more of the councils, not give them more work. Else that 34p per £1 of your council tax that goes to pay pensions will rise.
[quote][p][bold]Man on the Green[/bold] wrote: This sounds legitimate, but such has not always been the case. The thoroughly dysfunctional nature of the authority's Legal Service means that it is hard to argue that it should be trusted with such decisions. My own suggestion would be to set up an oversight committee, with independent membership (say a retired judge or other member of the judiciary), and not to leave this to an in-house decision-making process.[/p][/quote]Do they get expenses and a database? More committees = more bureaucracy and thus more cost to you and I. Laudable though their aims are (I hate people who prey on the vunerable) this should be done by the Police and not the council. We need to axe more of the councils, not give them more work. Else that 34p per £1 of your council tax that goes to pay pensions will rise. EMBOX1
  • Score: 1

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