Royal Courts of Justice
Strangely there is little media cover of this subject. Remember last year when Poole Borough Council was found to be conducting surveillance on families merely to see if they were living in the right school catchment areas for their children?
Such behaviour from councils could well become far worse from this week for those living in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. I can find no trace of a similar law coming into effect soon in Scotland but I'm sure my readers will correct me if I'm wrong.
A 'statutory instrument' laid before the Westminster Parliament earlier this year will allow draconian policie powers, intended to catch crime barons, to be delegated to councils, quangos and agencies so that they can seize assets from members of the public.
It gets worse. The powers will allow councils and financial investigators for organisations such as the Royal Mail and London Transport to freeze assets search homes, seize cash, confiscate property and obtain private financial records. The new measures, coming into force this week, will allow these dangerous powers (intended to be used by police for serious criminal investigations), to be used against fare dodgers, families unable to pay their council tax and other 'dangerous criminals'.
There was no discussion, debate, coverage, statement or justification for this quite extraordinary and potentially dangerous extension of this power of the state.
Under this government there seems to be more and more secondary legislation produced without any parliamentary discussion let alone scrutiny. What are MPs doing? Their job is to scrutinise government surely.
Of course the introduction of these measures is just the tip of the iceberg. This will be in effect very shortly and touch each and every one of us, including here in Scotland.