Council praised in test of secret surveillance

The Boston Borough Council building.
The Boston Borough Council building.

Boston Borough Council has been described as “a beacon of good practice for others to follow” after an inspection by the Office of Surveillance Commissioners (OSC).

The OSC is responsible for overseeing the use of covert surveillance by designated public authorities in accordance with the Police Act 1997 and the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, 2000.

An inspector from the commission reported that the council has “remained entirely focused on the nature of its responsibilities and the need to ensure that, even if the event is unlikely, if and when the need may arise, its activities will be lawful”.

The inspector said the council had achieved a high standard of Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act compliance and reviewed use of the council’s CCTV system, including its use in order to assist police inquiries. He found that the council was fully aware of the commissioners’ code of practice for covert surveillance.

David Buxton, the surveillance inspector, said he was particularly impressed with the leadership and commitment demonstrated by the council’s Chief Executive Phil Drury, senior responsible officer Michelle Sacks and RIPA coordinator Andy Fisher.

Coun Stephen Woodliffe, the council’s portfolio holder for regulatory services and community safety, commented: “The findings are a credit to the council and provide a huge endorsement of our practices and lawful compliance.

“The public can have confidence in our ability to use the systems and authority at our disposal responsibly and lawfully.”