British councils conducted mass surveillance for five years on citizens for petty crimes

Updated: Dec 27, 2016, 10:34 IST | Agencies |

British councils conduced mass covert surveillance on citizens over the course of five years for crimes ranging from dog fouling to pigeon feeding, the media reported

A total of 2,800 surveillance operations were done in five years. Representation pic
A total of 2,800 surveillance operations were done in five years. Representation pic

London: British councils conduced mass covert surveillance on citizens over the course of five years for crimes ranging from dog fouling to pigeon feeding, the media reported.

The councils were authorised to carry out more than 55,000 days of covert surveillance during which spying was conducted, according to a report in the Guardian on Sunday.

A huge freedom of information request from the Liberal Democrats showed that 186 of the 283 councils had used the government’s Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa) to gather evidence in covert surveillance.

A total of 2,800 surveillance operations took place during that time, lasting up to 90 days each. A governement spokeswoman said that the law had since changed and Ripa could only now be used if criminal activity was suspected.

The ‘spy’ crimes
>> Midlothian council monitored dog barking
>> Allerdale borough council investigated who was guilty of feeding pigeons
>> Slough used Ripa to aid an investigation into an illegal puppy farm
>> Lancaster city council used the act in 2012, for “targeted dog fouling enforcement”.

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