Tuesday, 7 April 2009


Recent figures obtained from 400 councils show that thousands of council staff have been authorised to use RIPA, which according to Nanny was meant to be used against terrorists, covertly keep a watch on local voters et al.

Seemingly 20% of those using the powers were below senior management grade, and few of our "respected" and "trusted" local authorities demonstrated that they checked as to whether the powers were being used appropriately.

The figures show that 182 local authorities employed 1,615 staff who had used the powers 10,133 times in the past five years.

Less than 10% of surveillance missions resulted in a prosecution, caution or fixed penalty notice.

The powers were also used on 451 investigations into fly-tipping investigations and on 88 cases of unlawful dog fouling.

Other reasons included "establishing the identities of those taking fairy lights from a Christmas tree", "illegal sale of shellfish" and "unauthorised internet access by staff".


Today I sent the following request to the WMBC Freedom of Information officer:


Header to e-mail: R.I.P.A. – FoI Request.


With regard to the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) I request the following information:

As of today's date, 7th April 2009:

1 (a) How many Officers and/or other staff of WMBC are authorised to use the powers granted under this Act (RIPA); and who issues such authorisation?

(b) What are the grades of the staff concerned? By this I mean - how many senior executives; how many senior managers; how many junior managers; how many non-managerial grades; how many temporary contractors; etc. Numbers alone are all that I require, not names or particular job titles.

(c) On what date was the first individual from WMBC authorised to use the powers granted by RIPA given that authorisation?

Assuming such authorised individuals exist:

(d) Are such individuals authorised to delegate any necessary powers to others - whether WMBC employees or otherwise - to actually carry out aspects of investigations (such as physical surveillance, or installing/operating cameras or listening devices, for example)?

(e) Is there a committee, or individual, tasked to exercise oversight on the use of RIPA to ensure it is being used appropriately?

Assuming such a committee or individual exists:

(f) On what date was the oversight put in place?

2. How many investigations, in total, have been carried out by staff or contractors from or for WMBC?

Assuming there have been investigations (if this assumption is incorrect, then what follows will be irrelevant):

3 (a) How many of these investigations were 'Terrorism' related?

(b) Of those investigations not terrororism related, please supply a list of the reasons for each investigation.

Assuming one or more investigations of any kind have been carried out using the powers given by RIPA:

4 How many investigations have resulted in:

(i) Prosecution through a court of law?

(ii) Issue of a formal caution?

(iii) Issue of a fixed penalty notice?

5 What has been the cost of these investigations ( include the cost of prosecutions in with total cost), and how much has been recovered from prosecutions and fixed penalty notices?

Thank you

Henry Morgan

PS If you need clarification on any question or sub-question, do not hesitate to e-mail or telephone me.


Like so much of the oppressive legislation passed by this so-called Labour government, the excuse for this one was ‘prevention of terrorism’. And like so much of such legislation it has been used for other purposes (Walter Wolfgang anyone?).

Let’s find out if Wigan Council has been playing these games at public expense. No one will be happier than me if we find that they haven’t. Under the FoI legislation they have 20 days to reply. I will post that reply here.


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