The 20,000 snooper army: Vast number of town hall bureaucrats get power to enter your home without a warrant
Snoopers: Town hall bureaucrats now have powers to enter homes without warrants (file pic)
As many as 20,000 town hall snoopers have assumed powers to enter people's homes without a warrant and search for information, a survey revealed last night.
The research details for the first time how a raft of intrusive laws has allowed council staff to barge into homes and businesses uninvited.
The bureaucrats are benefiting from the 1,043 state powers of entry in primary and secondary legislation – more than 400 of which have been created by Labour.
These include checking for fridges which do not have the correct eco-friendly energy rating, making sure a hedge is not too high and inspecting a property to ensure 'illegal or unregulated hypnotism' is not taking place.
Alex Deane, director of Big Brother Watch, which carried out the research, said: 'Once, a man's home was his castle. Today, the Big Brother state wants to inspect, regulate and standardise the inside of our homes.
'Councils are dishing out powers of entry to officers for their own ease, without giving due thought to the public's right to privacy and the potential for abuse. There needs to be a much closer eye kept on the number of officers granted the right to barge into private premises without a warrant.'
Using Freedom of Information laws, Big Brother Watch, a new privacy campaign group, asked councils in Britain to reveal the number of staff they had authorised to conduct property searches.
The research, entitled 'Barging In', found there were at least 14,793 officers with that power – the equivalent of 47 officers in every local authority in Britain. More than a quarter of councils either refused or failed to answer the FOI requests.
But based on the responses given by other town halls, there are 20,000 snoopers with the power to enter a person's home or business.
The survey relates only to town hall staff. If police officers, paramedics and firefighters are included, the total would be in the hundreds of thousands.
Northamptonshire County Council and Glasgow City Council have the most officers able to enter your home, with almost 500 each.
Councils have been handing out the powers despite the fact Gordon Brown has expressed concern about the practice.
In 2007, the Prime Minister said: 'I share the concerns about the need for additional protections for the liberties and rights of the citizen.'
Town halls are also carrying out thousands of 'spying' missions under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act. The law was passed nine years ago to fight terrorism, but access to the spy powers has been extended to 653 state bodies - including 474 councils.
Cases uncovered by the Mail include Kent County Council carrying out 23 telephone subscriber checks as part of probes into storing petrol without a licence and bringing a dog into the UK without putting it into quarantine.
Most watched News videos
- Mob storm police station and lynch suspected paedophile
- Panic as phone is submerged in WATER during condom challenge
- Reckless 20-year-old streams doomed joy-ride on Facebook Live
- Woman who ranted in store also yelled at staff in Coffee shop
- Woman in high spirits 'entertains' Southern Rail train passengers
- Hilarious footage shows schoolgirl shouting words to hymn at nativity
- Moment judge gets slapped in the face at 2016 IFBB Diamond Cup
- Angry Trump supporter goes on wild 'racist' rant inside store
- Baby elephant reunited with its mum after being rescued from pond
- 100 special police agents protect suspected paedophile from mob
- Lucky buffalo escapes as lions fight each other after try to kill it
- Water jets up 100 FEET in the air as main is broken by workmen
The comments below have been moderated in advance.
The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.
We are no longer accepting comments on this article.