Covert surveillance

Regulation of Investigatory Powers (Scotland) Act

The Regulation of Investigatory Powers (Scotland) Act (RIPSA) was introduced to make sure that the surveillance of people was properly regulated.

In some circumstances, it may be necessary for our employees, in the course of their duties, to monitor the activities of indiviuduals covertly, or to instruct third parties to do so on the our behalf. Actions of this sort are potentially intrusive and may give rise to legal challenge as a potential breach of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights and the Human Rights Act 1998 (the right to respect for private and family life).

RIPSA provides a legal framework for local authorities authorising surveillance. Reasons include:

  • preventing or detecting crime or disorder
  • protecting public health
  • public safety

Our staff must follow the RIPSA authorisation process in order to carry out directed surveillance or to use a covert human intelligence source.

View the Council's RIPSA Policy

You can read more about how these powers are monitored, RIPSA, and the Human Rights Act 1998 on the Investigatory Powers Commissioner's Office website.

For further information the Scottish Government has published Codes of Practice on Covert Surveillance and Covert Human Intelligence Sources.

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