The Tory Party is calling for less restriction of police snooping because current laws are "placing a disproportionate burden" on investigations of "volume crime".
The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act was introduced in 2000 to provide oversight of public bodies' use of communications data, CCTV footage and other forms of official noseying. There has been some recent criticism of the use of the laws by local councils - although the man in charge of overseeing their use has called for more councils to use their powers.
Shadow Home Secretary Dominic Grieve said: "It is not right that we charge our police with combating crime and disorder and then tie their hands behind their backs in the name of Whitehall bureaucracy.
“Revising the RIPA framework so that authorisation - and all the paperwork that goes with it - is not required for basic police work is just one way the Conservatives will cut red tape to free more police onto our streets.”
The Tories want changes to the RIPA framework so that police do not need authorisation to use CCTV, Automatic Number Plate Recognition, plain clothes patrols, operations using sting vehicles or premises, surveillance using x-ray, thermal or radar imaging.
Surveillance of homes of people subjected to repeated burglary should also be allowed, said the Conservatives. ®