Connect with us
Advertisement
Advertisement

News

Council changes snoopers’ charter

Published

on

county hallPEMBROKESHIRE County Council has adopted a code of practice in relation to controversial legislation enabling it to mount covert surveillance operations.

The widespread misuse by public authorities of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) led the Coalition government to clamp down on its use to mount trivial and intrusive investigations at public expense into minor breaches of the law, such as putting bin bags out too early.

Although County Council leader Jamie Adams claimed that the Council had not used powers under RIPA, The Pembrokeshire Herald can confirm that Councillor Adams was mistaken in so claiming. The Pembrokeshire Herald has established that, despite Councillor Adams’ assurances to the contrary, in the three years from 2008-2011, the County Council has disclosed that it used RIPA powers on seven occasions.

In 2008-2009, the Council used RIPA powers in two animal welfare cases. In 2009-2010 it used the same powers in relation to an investigation into a car dealership issuing credit without a consumer credit licence and to investigate the sale of alcohol to a minor. In 2010-2011 it used its RIPA powers on three separate occasions, two of which related to the sale of alcohol to a minor, the other relating to a trading standards investigation. In none of the seven cases in which the Council used its covert surveillance powers has it disclosed the outcome of the investigations concerned.

In the three year period 2008-2011, Pembrokeshire County Council used RIPA powers on fewer occasions than most other Welsh local authorities.

The Herald can reveal that the new code of practice provides that Mr Mike Kent, one of the Council’s in-house legal staff, will have day-to-day responsibility for the making of applications for the Council to launch surveillance operations targeting Pembrokeshire’s citizens.

The code of practice provides that the Council can only use its powers if the application is approved by a Justice of the Peace and if the criminal offence being investigated is of an offence that can lead to a prison sentence of at least six months’ duration. The powers can also be used to investigate the sale of tobacco and alcohol to children.

The Council will be permitted to use so-called “Covert Human Intelligence Sources”. This means that the Council can use a person who establishes or maintains “a personal or other relationship” with the target of a council investigation to obtain information from them and feed it back to their County Hall spymaster.

The Council will also be permitted to monitor, observe and listen to personal communications, including surveillance with the assistance of technology for that purpose. The Council is therefore permitted, provided it establishes that the use of such resources in proportionate, to bug phones and access personal email accounts.

Lower level surveillance as authorised by a local authority can be accessed by organisations including, but not limited to, the police, the Gambling Commission, the Food Standards Agency, Office of Fair Trading, Royal Pharmaceutical Society and the Gang-masters’ Licensing Authority.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

News

Conservatives hold on to Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire seat

Published

on

THE CONSERVATIVES have held on to their Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire seat despite Labour closing the gap.

Sam Kurtz will take over the seat from the outgoing Angela Burns who held a majority of 3,400 at the last election.

This time, the gap was just 936 to Labour’s Hassan Riaz who picked up 10,304 votes.

Plaid Cymru’s Cefin Campbell picked up 6,615 votes.

The turnout in Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire was slightly up to 52.12% from 51.2% in 2016.

However, with a larger electorate thanks to votes for 16/17-year-olds, the number of votes cast went up by almost 3,000.

Continue Reading

News

Paul Davies re-elected as Conservatives hold Preseli Pembrokeshire

Published

on

PAUL DAVIES has been re-elected to represent the Preseli Pembrokeshire constituency.

He won with 12,295 votes, while there were 10,895 votes for Labour’s Jackie Jones.

Plaid Cymru candidate Cris Tomos gained just over 6,000 votes and there were also 1,239 for Reform UK candidate Alan Dennison.

There were over 3000 more votes cast in 2016, down largely in part to the fact that 16 and 17 year olds were able to vote in this election.

Both the Conservatives and Labour received more votes than before while the gap to Labour closed to just 1,400.

After being elected, Paul Davies said he would continue to ‘fight for Pembrokeshire’ and thanked those who had been involved in his campaign.

Continue Reading

News

Former Cardigan Castle director sentencing delayed

Published

on

THE SENTENCING of a former director of Cardigan Castle who has pleaded guilty to charges of fraud and theft totalling over £40,000 has been delayed.

Former director, Jac Davies, pleaded guilty to charges of fraud and theft was due to be sentenced on Wednesday (May 4) at Swansea Crown Court – but has now been delayed.

Davies who held the £40,000 a year post fraudulently obtained £33,098.75 and stole a further £7,932.97 from the award winning restoration project..

Davies held his position at Cardigan Castle from September 2017 to November 2019.

The defendant has pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining £4,143.20 from the castle on December 21, 2017.

Again Davies admitted to fraudulently obtaining £28,955.55 between February 4, 2019 and November 3, 2019.

Two further charges of theft were also admitted – one charge of  theft from the castle of £1,908.18 between May 2, 2018 and May 24, 2019 and a further charge of theft from Cardigan Castle Enterprises to the sum of £6,024.79.

Dyfed-Powys Police conducted a year long investigation after being contacted by the castle board of directors.

Financial discrepancies were identified during financial monitoring.

An internal investigation was launched and Davies left his position within the castle in October 2019 following a disciplinary process.

Continue Reading
News5 hours ago

Conservatives hold on to Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire seat

THE CONSERVATIVES have held on to their Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire seat despite Labour closing the gap. Sam Kurtz...

News5 hours ago

Paul Davies re-elected as Conservatives hold Preseli Pembrokeshire

PAUL DAVIES has been re-elected to represent the Preseli Pembrokeshire constituency. He won with 12,295 votes, while there were 10,895...

News10 hours ago

Dyfed-Powys Police criticised for failing to record thousands of crimes

A SHOCKING new report says that Dyfed-Powys Police failed to record thousands of crimes, despite being told to improve two-and-a-half...

News2 days ago

Milford Haven: Mount estate death not being treated as suspicious say police

POLICE have confirmed that following a welfare visit to a property in Mount Estate, they discovered a male occupant, in...

Politics2 days ago

Pembrokeshire heads to the polls

THE ELECTIONS to the Welsh Parliament/Senedd Cymru take place today, Thursday (May 6). Over the last few weeks, we’ve published...

News2 days ago

Milford Haven: Man arrested following suspicious flat fire in Robert Street

DYFED-POWYS POLICE have confirmed that the force is investigating a fire which occurred at a property in Lower Robert Street,...

News2 days ago

Ongoing incident closes busy Haverfordwest road

A MAJOR road in Haverfordwest has been closed due to a police incident this afternoon (May 5) A man was...

News3 days ago

James Oulton found not guilty of 30 counts of sexual assault against 11 ex-pupils

JAMES OULTON, 34, the primary school teacher who was accused of 30 charges of sexual assault against pupils has been found...

News3 days ago

Nineteen arrests and weapons seized during knife crime action week

NINETEEN people were arrested and a number of weapons were seized as police took part in a national week of...

News3 days ago

Haverfordwest: Police investigate alleged assault, one man arrested and bailed

POLICE officers in Haverfordwest are investigating an incident where a woman was reportedly assaulted. The alleged attack took place at...

Popular This Week