@bury them in bureaucracy
I worked for 30 years as a Local Authority Trading Standards Officer.
Let’s get things straight, RIPA gave us no powers we didn't already have it just piled on added layers of bureaucracy.
Just look at the name of the Act, the "Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act" , it is an act to "Regulate" Investigatory Powers not give them. All this referring to the act as “anti-terror” legislation is utter rubbish.
The investigatory powers are contained in the several hundred pieces of legislation that Trading Standards Officers are expected to enforce.
The requests for “communications data” consist of requests for subscriber details either by reference to a telephone number, an email account or an IP address.
Any data requested must be relevant to an investigation; we can’t go trawling for information.
We don’t get the content of any emails; we can’t listen in to calls (we leave that to the spooks).
To get this information we have to fill in a multi-page form giving the reason why we want it, what we are investigating and the powers to request it.
The requests are not made by clerks; they are made by professional officers.
The completed form will be referred to a line manager and then on to an even more senior officer for approval.
If approved the request is forwarded to the SPOC – the Single Point of Contact, an officer (a senior enforcement professional) who has been on a home office approved training course, taken an exam and been issued with a unique identification number
The SPOC checks the application is correctly completed them requests the data from the appropriate source.
All too often after weeks or months the data source replies that “It’s a pay as you go phone, no subscriber data”, you still get bill £60.
Should the data requested actually be received, it goes to the SPOC who under strict control procedures divulges it the investigating officer.
Every step of the procedure is documented and is internally audited and inspected, usually annually, by an officer from the Office of the Surveillance Commissioner.