Mum Challenges Spying Council

06/11/2009 12:18 | Updated 22 May 2015

A mother-of-three has accused her local council of being "ludicrous and completely outrageous" when it comes to tracking the movements of her and her children.

Jenny Paton spoke at an investigatory hearing after she accused Poole council of being ruthless in its attempts to discover whether her children lived in the correct school catchment area. The council based their investigation on the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, which allows them to use 'spying' methods for investigations.

The lawyers representing Jenny Paton felt that the surveillance methods used were unlawful, and should be stopped.

What were these unlawful surveillance methods?

According to Jenny, a council official made notes over a three week period of the coming and goings at her home. The purpose of this was to make sure the children are indeed from the catchment area for their local primary school.

That seems like an awful long time to pay someone to sit and write the comings and goings of a person's home. Particularly as they could have just requested an inspection to make sure they do actually live there.

Whilst spying can be a suitable way of keeping an eye on criminal activities, I don't really think checking up on a mother of three who clearly lives in her own home is the most productive use of our taxes.

Saying that, there are plans to use this to help chase maintenance payments from those that claim they earn less then they actually do. For many single parents, this will be a beneficial investigation.

What do you think about the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act and the freedom it gives councils and the police?

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