Policy Directed surveillance and covert human intelligence sources policy

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9. Duration of directed surveillance authorisations and reviews

An authorisation in writing ceases to have effect at the end of a period of 3 months beginning with the day on which it took effect being the date of authorisation by the JP.  .  So an authorisation starting 1 January would come to an end on 31 March. Regular reviews of authorisations should be undertaken. If, during an investigation it becomes clear that the activity being investigated does not amount to a criminal offence or that it  would be a less serious offence that does not meet the threshold (of at least a maximum of 6 months in prison) the use of directed surveillance should cease. The results of the review should be recorded on DS/2Review of the use of directed surveillanceand a copy filed on the central record of authorisations.  If the surveillance provides access to confidential information or involves collateral intrusion more frequent reviews will be required.  The authorising officer should determine how often a review should take place.


While an authorisation is still effective the authorising officer can renew it if he considers this necessary for the purpose for which the authorisation was originally given.  The authorisation will be renewed in writing for a further period, beginning with the day when the authorisation would have expired, but for the renewal, and can be for a further period of 3 months.

Applications requesting renewal of an authorisation are to be made on the appropriate form as set out at DS/3Renewal of directed surveillance and be submitted to the authorising officer.

Applications for renewal will record:

  • whether this is the first renewal, if not, the occasion which the authorisation has previously been renewed
  • the information as required in the original application, as it applies at the time of the renewal; together with;
    • the significant changes to the information in the previous authorisation
    • the reasons why it is necessary and proportionate to continue with the surveillance
    • the content and value to the investigation or operation of the information so far obtained by the surveillance
    • an estimate of the length of time the surveillance will continue to be necessary

Renewals will also require the approval of a JP in the magistrates’ court before they can take effect and investigating officers should bear in mind the relevant timescales when considering the need to renew an authorisation.


The person who granted or last renewed the authorisation MUST cancel it if he is satisfied that the directed surveillance no longer meets the criteria for authorisation.  Requests for cancellation will be made on the appropriate form as set out at DS/4Cancellation of the use of directed surveillance.

and submitted to the authorising officer for authorisation of the cancellation. No JP’s involvement is required for cancellation. When cancelling an authorisation, the authorising officer should:

  • record the date and times (if at all) that surveillance took place and when the order to cease the activity was made
  • the reason for cancellation
  • ensure that the surveillance equipment has been removed and returned
  • provide directions for the management of the product
  • ensure that detail of property interfered with, or persons subjected to surveillance, since the last review or renewal is properly recorded.
  • record the value of the surveillance or interference (i.e. whether the objectives as set in the authorisation were met).

Use of CCTV systems

General operation of overt CCTV equipment and the use of any information it has gathered in a reactive operation will not require a RIPA authorisation as it is not viewed as directed surveillance (see paragraph 2.27 – 2.30 Code of Practice on Covert Surveillance and Property Interference). Use as part of a proactive investigation (i.e. to track individuals) may well require authorisation.

The Council has regard to the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice regarding the use of CCTV and has a policy relevant to it which can be found [link to be provided when CCTV policy adopted].