Why We Are Hurtling Towards Lawlessness, Courtesy of HMG and The Press

Over the last 24 hours I have read, reread and reread again this article in the Daily Fail;

The first thing (but not the most serious by any means) was the bold assertion that the Police had ‘hacked’ the phones of journalists. We all know what is meant by ‘hacking phones’ thanks to various assorted members of the press themselves.

Is this really what the Police are doing?

NO.

The second thing that peeved me was the assertion that RIPA is an Anti-Terrorist law, it is not. I would imagine that Terrorism forms a small percentage of RIPA applications. If you want to know the TRUTH about the sort of things that RIPA covers look here.

What the Police are doing, whether you think it’s right or wrong, is making an application under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) for an itemised phone bill for a specified phone number.

I agree that it is possible to abuse this process, much like any other regulated procedure, politicians expenses for example, but this is clearly wrong and such cases would, in my opinion, form the absolute minority of applications submitted. All applications are written and the original copy is retained for future accountability purposes.

Not one single itemised phone bill can lawfully be supplied by the phone companies without such an application.

So, in attempt to appease the whiter than white journalists, the whiter than white politicians, led by Imelda May, are now proposing to change RIPA meaning that all such applications would need to be authorised by a Judge.

The sheer volume of such requests that are made across the UK every year means that Judges would be bogged down with RIPA applications.

The likely result of that is that most would be rejected, or not even make it to the Judge in the first place.

These applications currently have to be authorised by a senior officer, they have to be proportionate to the gravity of the offence being investigated and have to be ‘targeted’ i.e. they can’t be part of a ‘fishing expedition’.

So, in order to appease the journos, Imelda will be tying one hand behind the back of every officer who is investigating something. Armed Robbers, Drug Dealers, Terrorists even, must be rubbing their hands in glee as it will now be made more difficult to gain evidence or intelligence on their activities and associates.

Surely it would be better to restrict your interference to ensuring rigidly that the requirements of RIPA are complied with, applications correctly compiled, submitted, authorised and retained for accountability.

Why would you weaken the Police Arsenal at a time like this, you’ve already nicked 16,000 of them, why take their powers away as well?

Be careful what you wish for journos, you might just get it.

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4 thoughts on “Why We Are Hurtling Towards Lawlessness, Courtesy of HMG and The Press

  1. When I saw this in the DM, my immediate reaction was “what has May got to hide”. I’ve been out of the Job 11 years next month but I seem to recall that getting an address for an ex directory number even for a real emergency was next to impossible, so I cannot imagine in these liberated free for all touchy-feely times things have slackened authorisation wise in these RIPA cases. There does seem to be a concerted bash the police over every damned thing even here in Canada where I now reside. I don’t understand what they hope to gain in driving a wedge between police and public, it can only backfire.

    • I quite agree Alex, the potential for backfiring is immense, particularly with Threat Levels being increased over the past few days, but that’s this government all over, try to please everybody else at the expense of the the Police and Crime Levels

  2. Pingback: Why We Are Hurtling Towards Lawlessness, Courte...

  3. “The likely result of that is that most would be rejected, or not even make it to the Judge in the first place.”

    Maybe that’s the intended result – because it may not be so relevant these days. Perhaps new technology reduces the need for targeted permission.

    http://twitwonga.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11 (http://fucp.uk)

    Is everything now a fishing trip? Might Imelda actually prefer things never to reach a judge, as less information need be made public? Is it all just PR?

    Do clogged courts, low morale & chaos play into the hands of a Tory party endlessly shifting the blame and nudging us to see faults in a police force deluged with conflicting instructions which are later denied as emanating from the Home Office?

    Will her bluster succeed? Will the next May arise next May?

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