Hampshire County Council's Policy Statement on Surveillance and Use of Regulatory Powers
- Hampshire County Council will not undertake any activity defined within the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 without prior, or emergency, authorisation, from a trained, senior officer who is empowered to grant such consents. The Director of Culture, Communities and Business Services has been appointed the Senior Responsible Officer and, as such, has been given authority to appoint Authorising Officers (for surveillance activities) and Designated Persons and Single Points of Contact (for the purposes of access to communications data) under the Act.
- The Authorising Officer or Designated Person will not authorise the use of surveillance techniques, human intelligence sources or access to communications data unless the authorisation can be shown to be necessary for the purpose of preventing or detecting crime or of preventing disorder.
- In addition, the Authorising Officer or Designated Person must believe that the surveillance or obtaining of communications data is necessary and proportionate to what it seeks to achieve. In making this judgment, the officer will consider whether the information can be obtained using other methods and whether efforts have been made to reduce the impact of the surveillance on other people, who are not the subject of the operation.
- Applications for authorisation of surveillance, the use of a Covert Human Intelligence Sources or the obtaining of communications data will, except in emergency where legislation permits, be made in writing on the appropriate form.
- Intrusive surveillance operations are defined as activities using covert surveillance techniques, on residential premises, or in any private vehicle, which involves the use of a surveillance device, or an individual, in such a vehicle or on such premises. Hampshire County Council officers are NOT legally entitled to authorise these types of operations.
- However public bodies are permitted to record telephone conversations, where one party consents to the recording being made and appropriate surveillance authorisation has been granted. On occasions, officers of the County Council do need to record telephone conversations, to secure evidence.
- It is the policy of this authority to be open and transparent in the way that it works and delivers its services. To that end, a well-publicised Corporate Complaints procedure is in place and information on how to make a complaint to the Investigatory Powers Tribunal will be provided on request to the Senior Responsible Officer.
- The County Councils use of its powers under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 will be subject to regular scrutiny by the County Councils Audit Committee.