The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) is the law governing the use of covert techniques by public authorities.

It requires that when public authorities – such as the police or government departments – need to use covert techniques to obtain private information about someone, they do it in a way that is necessary, proportionate, and compatible with human rights.

When does RIPA apply?

RIPA applies to a wide-range of investigations in which private information might be obtained. Cases in which it can apply include:

  • terrorism
  • crime
  • public safety
  • emergency services

What RIPA does?

RIPA's guidelines and codes apply to actions such as:

  • intercepting communications, such as the content of telephone calls, emails or letters.
  • acquiring communications data – the ‘who, when and where’ of communications, such as a telephone billing or subscriber details.
  • conducting covert surveillance, either in private premises or vehicles (intrusive surveillance) or in public places (directed surveillance).
  • the use of covert human intelligence sources, such as informants or undercover officers.
  • access to electronic data protected by encryption or passwords.

Bassetlaw District Council Policies

View the Council's corporate policy on RIPA.

RIPA Codes Of Practice Issued By The Home Office

Codes of practice and guidance for making an application under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (2000). These help public authorities assess and understand whether and in what circumstances it is appropriate to use covert techniques. The codes also provide guidance on what procedures need to be followed in each case. All RIPA codes must be approved and debated in both Houses of Parliament and published.

Guidance on the procedures that must be followed before interception of communications can take place.

Guidance on the procedures to be followed before acquiring or disclosing communications data.

Information and guidance for authorising covert surveillance and property interference.

The following code applies to authorising and using covert intelligence sources.

The following code provides guidance that should be followed when protected electronic information is decrypted.