RIPA 2000 Explained

Ripa 2000

What is RIPA 2000? In this blog we explain what it is and its relevance to the world of private investigations.

RIPA is a piece of legislation that came into effect in 2000 and stands for the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act. Its objective was to regulate the use of surveillance techniques and to protect the public (and arguably the surveillance target themselves) from "unnecessary intrusion" into their privacy.

The act is also aimed at public bodies such as local authorities but not the private sector. This means that RIPA is a legal guideline for an investigation executed by, or on behalf of, a private body but is not a legal requirement for any private clients. That being said, RIPA offers such clear and concise guidelines that many investigation companies (including Tacet Investigations) use it as a code of practice, along with other methods, as to how to conduct an investigation for a private client.

RIPA defines covert surveillance in two ways: Directive and Intrusive. Firstly we must understand what the term "covert" means.

There are two types of surveillance which are known as covert and overt.

Overt simply means that it can be seen so a homeowner putting a large and visible CCTV camera to protect their property is an simple example of overt surveillance. Overt surveillance is really a method of deterrence as well as surveillance.

Covert surveillance means that it is hidden from sight and therefore the subject won't know they are being filmed, observed or photographed. There are many types of covert surveillance that are used by investigators and the security services but very simple examples of covert surveillance would be a operative wearing what is known as a "body cam". This is a very small but powerful covert camera which can be placed on the operatives jacket (in a button hole) or perhaps on their tie.

Other forms of covert cameras include anything where the camera is hidden in items such as a car key fob, pen or even a coffee cup.

In the next blog on RIPA 200o Explained, we'll be analysing the difference between Directive and Intrusive surveillance techniques and clarifying the importance of RIPA in more depth.

If you need an investigation to take place and want to find a private investigator in London, you can call Tacet Investigations on 0203 1466 659 or email us at for more information.

All correspondence is treated with 100% confidentiality and all customers can arranged a free consultation to discuss their query face to face with one of our agents.

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