FOI Request - RIPSA Powers

Request 101000322946

On the 6th November 2014 I made a request under the Freedom of Information Act that asked how many times RIPA powers had been used by your local authority since April 2012.

Your council has since responded to this question with a numbered list of operations that RIPA was authorised for since April 2012.

Of the operations that your council had listed can you provide the following information:

1.  How much money was spent by your local authority on each RIPA authorised operation? Please provide the expenditure on each operation. If calculating each separate operation would lead to this request being rejected due to time limitations please provide the total spent on all operations.

2.  The number of days each operation lasted. If calculating this would lead to this request being rejected due to the time it would take please provide the start date and end date for each operation. If the operation is still active please state how many days so far it has been running up until the date this request was received.

3.  How many of these operations were partially or fully undertaken by private companies. If private companies were deployed to assist or carry out operational work please name each company involved.

4.  The number of employees or contracted workers involved in each operation.

Response 05-03-2015

1. This information is not held by the Council and is therefore exempt under Section 17 of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

2. Operations are not the same as RIPSA authorisations which regulate the use of surveillance within an operation and a specific operation may therefore last longer than any authorisation granted. Re specific start and end dates of operations, the Council does not hold this information. The Council does hold information regarding the date of authorisations and the date of cancellations of those authorisations but it is considered to be exempt information in terms of Section 35(1) (a) in that it is likely to prejudice substantially the prevention or detection of crime if the specific start and end dates of authorisations are disclosed. However, the Council can advise that in 2012/13 for RIPSA authorisations granted during that financial year, the total duration of RIPSA authorisations varied from 7 days to 125 days. For 2013/14, the duration of operations varied from 6 to 151 days. Information regarding authorisations granted from March 2014 is considered to be exempt under Section 35 of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 as if disclosed this would be likely to substantially prejudice the prevention or detection of crime and the prosecution of offenders. The information is also exempt in terms of  Section 34(1) in that it relates to investigations conducted by the local authority which may lead to a decision by them to make a report to the Procurator Fiscal to enable it to be determined whether criminal proceedings should be instituted.  The exemptions are subject to a public interest test and the Council considers that the public interest in withholding the information outweighs the public interest in disclosing it.

3. The Council has not used private companies to undertake operations involving the use of RIPSA powers.

4. This information is not held and is therefore exempt under Section 17 of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

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