FOI Req: Surveillance Operations
Please can you break down the below information for each of the following calendar years (1 January to 31 December): 2018;2019;2020.
For 2020, please can the information be broken down per month. Can you also please provide me the information for the period between 1 January 2021 and 28 February 2021.
1) On how many occasions did your council carry out surveillance operations authorised under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 over the stated period(s)?
For Q1, please can you breakdown the information by stating on how many such occasions your council: acquired/disclosed communications data (such as telephone billing information, subscriber details, traffic information); directed surveillance (i.e. covert surveillance of individuals in public places); used covert human intelligence sources (such as the deployment of undercover officers). For each occasion your council has used the RIPA powers under one of these categories of surveillance, could you please specify in detail the purpose/reason of/for such operations (for example, but not limited to: detecting/preventing criminal behaviour in relation to environmental crime; Covid premises regulation breaches; consumer scams; loan sharks; taxi cab regulation; underage sales of knives, alcohol, solvents and tobacco; the employment of minors). Can you please also tell me in days how long each of the authorised surveillance investigations/operations lasted for, as well as if on any of the occasions the criminal offences you were investigating in relation to the surveillance operation carried a maximum custodial sentence of less than six months (please state the offence- and its maximum custodial sentence).
2) How many times was an application for authorisation for surveillance in respect to the RIPA 2000 approved by the council's appointed authorising officer but subsequently disapproved by a magistrate (failed to gain judicial approval)?
2a) Have any such surveillance operations in respect of the RIPA 2000 commenced before said operation/investigation had been externally approved by a court? If so, please can you tell me how long in days the operation was active before a court approved/disapproved it, what the purpose of said operation was and what day it commenced (without authorisation)- in the format DD/MM/YYYY.
3) How many days of surveillance in respect to the RIPA 2000 did your council request permission for over the stated period(s)?
4) On how many occasions between 1 January 2018 and 28 February 2021 has your council conducted covert surveillance within a person’s home or vehicle, for example- but not limited to: using a hidden camera or bugging device?
For Q4, if there has been any such occasion, could you please state the reason such surveillance was deemed necessary, the (criminal) offence the person/people being monitored had/were suspected to have committed, the date (DD/MM/YYYY) on which the surveillance commenced and how long the covert surveillance device/technique was carried out/installed for in days.
For all of these questions, surveillance can be defined as monitoring, observing or listening to persons, their movements, conversations or other activities and communications.
Please note: the questions are phrased around English law and process. There is reference to RIPA and magistrates, although there is obviously some cross over with the UK legislation. In Scotland the legislation RIP(S)A 2000. In order to be helpful, please see the document located here which details surveillance operations for the timeframe requested.