Regulation of Investigatory Powers

In Scotland, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers (Scotland) Act 2000 (RIPSA) deals with the use of covert surveillance and covert human intelligence sources. It was brought in to make sure that the way investigatory powers are used complies with human rights law, in particular the European Convention on Human Rights.

The legislation puts strict limits on the use of covert techniques, setting out the three purposes – detecting/preventing crime and disorder, public health and public safety – and the conditions under which they can be used, first and foremost the principles of necessity and proportionality.

There are formal East Lothian Council authorisation procedures and policies for both directed surveillance and conduct of covert human intelligence sources, in order to protect both staff and the public from any unlawful surveillance.