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22 August 2012
Responding to the report from Big Brother Watch on surveillance powers, Cllr Mehboob Khan, Chairman of the Local Government Association's Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said:
"People quite rightly expect councils to tackle rogue traders, loan sharks and benefit fraudsters operating in their area. These criminals have been caught and prosecuted using evidence gained from surveillance. Without these powers it would be much harder, and in some cases impossible, to bring offenders to justice.
“Councils know how important it is that people can feel safe in the knowledge that these powers are used sparingly and responsibly. To put Big Brother Watch's figures into perspective, on average a local authority will only use these powers less than 10 times per year and national statistics show that council requests for communications data make up only 0.3% of all requests received.
“From November, councils will be the only public body that obtains approval from a magistrate each time they use surveillance powers.”