Cambridge Council doesn’t let the law get in the way

“Technically, this amounted to intrusive surveillance, which the police can authorise, but the council cannot.”   Cambridge City Council report.

As reported on the front page of today’s Cambridge News, a report to Cambridge city council, to be discussed next week, highlights how the Council signed off on an operation to install hidden CCTV cameras in the home of a resident, despite not having the legal authority to do so.

The situation clearly warranted action to protect the resident and to ensure a proper prosecution could be mounted. This is why the police do have the power to install hidden cameras – and in this case it should have been the police investigating, not the council. While the Protection of Freedoms Act will now require a council seeks a magistrate’s approval for Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act operation, other public authorities will not.

It highlights just how weak the safeguards around these powers are that a council thought it had the power to plant secret cameras in someone’s home when they absolutely do not.

The failures in authorisation and legal advice are starkly laid out in this case, but in how many other situations are public authorities erring beyond their powers? We do not know, and cases like this only further highlight the weakness of the current oversight regime around RIPA.




  1. justsaying
    11th October 2012

    I viewed a rented property the other day, in Oxford (this huge old house had been converted into 5 or 6 pokey flats) and the owner had installed CCTV for the protection of the residents. Is he allowed to do that???

    • Paige Shepherd
      11th October 2012

      If its in hallways etc yeah, but not in their houses! Try and do something if you can ;/

      • Anonymous
        18th October 2012

        Just sabotage them, the law would be on YOUR side, not theirs, as par the Property act 1925.

  2. Anonymous
    11th October 2012

    So just when exactly is national “wreck a Camera” day?

    • John Name
      17th February 2013

      Very well said. Can they just stop fucking filming us ALL THE TIME.

  3. Council breached rules by setting up secret cameras in house « Engineering Evil
    13th October 2012

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