Magazine article Public Finance

LGA Makes Surveillance Plea

Magazine article Public Finance

LGA Makes Surveillance Plea

Article excerpt

Councils are being asked to urgently review their surveillance operations after allegations that they are using them for matters such as rubbish dumping.

Local Government Association chair Sir Simon Milton has written to every council asking that leaders ensure operations are 'necessary and proportionate to prevent or detect a criminal offence', as set out in the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act.

In his letter of June 23, Milton says that while it is wrong that councils are being accused of using anti-terror' powers to investigate local crime, the LGA is concerned that they are employing the powers in a way that could be portrayed as overzealous, alienating the public and risking being barred from using the powers by the government.

'Parliament clearly intended that councils should use the new powers, and generally they are being used to respond to residents' complaints about fly tippers, rogue traders and those defrauding the council tax or housing benefit system,' he said. …

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