The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) is legislation governing the use of covert techniques by public authorities.
If we need to use covert techniques to obtain private information about someone, we do it in a way that is necessary, proportionate, lawful and compatible with the Human Rights Act.
When RIPA applies
We will only use RIPA for cases that involve crime. It applies to a wide-range of investigations in which private information might be obtained. We are required to obtain an approval from a magistrate before starting a surveillance investigation.
What RIPA allows
We apply RIPA's guidelines and codes for:
- Conducting covert surveillance in public places (this is a directed surveillance for which a magistrate's approval is required)
- Intercepting communications, such as the content of telephone calls, emails or letters
- Acquiring communications data – the ‘who, when and where’ of communications, such as a telephone billing or subscriber details
- The use of covert human intelligence sources, such as informants or undercover officers
Last updated: 23/11/2022 15:40