Julia Breen reports:
A PANEL of top judges has ruled that Cleveland Police acted unlawfully when it monitored the phones of Northern Echo journalists to track down a series of leaks.
Snooping officers used laws aimed at investigating serious crime and terrorism to seize phone data from three journalists, a solicitor and two police officers as it tried to find out who was leaking information to The Northern Echo.
They said whatever the “subjective belief” of the force, “there was no lawful basis” for obtaining the applications to seize phone records, under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA), in 2012.
The sheer amount of call data seized – more than a million minutes’ worth – was excessive, they said.
Under just one application, the force looked at four months’ of call records, and in total, more than a million minutes’ worth were checked, as officers tried to discover who had leaked information about an internal grievance, and about an internal report which had uncovered institutional racism within Cleveland Police.
Read more on The Northern Echo.