Surveillance operations under Regulation of Investigatory Powers

1) On how many occasions did your council carry out surveillance operations authorised under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 over the stated period(s)?

Statement of general purposes: The Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards Service uses powers made available to it under RIPA and IPA in order to investigate and prevent crimes in areas such as the trade in counterfeit goods, door to door rogue trader activity, unsafe goods and animal welfare legislation. These powers are used only when necessary. They have successfully assisted in bringing rogue traders and other criminals to court and stopped counterfeit and unsafe products from reaching the public.

Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards are the only service in Devon County Council who have made use of the RIPA provisions in recent years. RIPA is aimed at safeguarding Human Rights and provides a framework to ensure that the authority’s actions are necessary and proportionate. It allows our decisions to be externally audited and it is only to prevent and detect crime that a local authority is allowed to conduct non-intrusive surveillance.

We can confirm the following:

Supply of Counterfeit Goods Doorstep trader activity Other Misdescriptions of Goods or Services
Communications Service Providers – Applications authorised and primary offence

2019 – 5 – all Fraud Act

2020 – 2 – all Fraud Act

2018 – 1 –  Fraud Act
Note of any below Crime threshold None None

Directed Surveillance Operations Authorised, primary offences and days covered



2019 – 1 – 31 days – Trade Marks Act
Note of any below crime threshold None

Covert Human Intelligence Source Authorisations and days covered


2018 – 1 –  119 days  – Trade Marks Act
Note of any below crime threshold None


Nil in 2021.

2) How many times was an application for authorisation for surveillance in respect to the RIPA 2000 approved by the council’s appointed authorising officer but subsequently disapproved by a magistrate (failed to gain judicial approval)?


2a) Have any such surveillance operations in respect of the RIPA 2000 commenced before said operation/investigation had been externally approved by a court? If so, please can you tell me how long in days the operation was active before a court approved/disapproved it, what the purpose of said operation was and what day it commenced (without authorisation)- in the format DD/MM/YYYY.


3) How many days of surveillance in respect to the RIPA 2000 did your council request permission for over the stated period(s)?

150 days

4) On how many occasions between 1 January 2018 and 28 February 2021 has your council conducted covert surveillance within a person’s home or vehicle, for example- but not limited to: using a hidden camera or bugging device?

None, a Local Authority cannot authorise intrusive surveillance techniques.