9,831 snoopers have already signed up
Councils across the country have recruited thousands of citizen snoopers to report environmental crime.
They target dog foulers, litter louts and neighbours who fail to sort their rubbish properly.
The volunteers act as the eyes and ears of their neighbourhoods and are encouraged to take photos of environmental crime and send them in with location details for a rapid response.
They are given hand-held GPS computers for the task or phone cards to cover the cost of using their own devices. Evidence gathered this way is sometimes used in criminal prosecutions.
There are already 9,831 snoopers signed up a 17 per cent increase on the number two years ago and a further 1,310 are set to be recruited and trained as part of schemes run by 18 councils.
Volunteers often apply to become street champions through council websites, but many have also been lured by recruitment drives in local newspapers.
Critics said yesterday the trend to create an army of neighbourhood detectives was leading to a Big Brother society and a culture where prying on neighbours was considered the norm.
Nick Pickles, director of the civil liberties campaign group Big Brother Watch, said: It should be deeply troubling for us all that councils seem not content with their own snooping and are now recruiting members of the public to assist them.
If a crime is committed, it is the police who should be involved, not local residents given hi-tech gadgets by councils, many of whom rarely pass up an opportunity to invade our privacy or hand out spurious fines.
These individuals operate with little or no training, and there is no evidence to suggest it helps combat environmental crime.
Councils seem to be unable to tell the difference between asking the public for help and getting the public to do their snooping for them.
But David Parsons, chairman of the Local Government Associations environment board, said: Environmental crimes like dog fouling, fly-tipping and littering blight local areas and are a source of huge frustration.
People hate seeing this sort of vandalism on their doorsteps. Schemes like street champions put people in charge of their own areas and help residents take a stand against the inconsiderate few who spoil them.
Hillingdon Council in London boasts the biggest street champions scheme with 4,850 volunteers, who record an average of 1,000 incidents a month.
By contrast Charnwood Borough Council, in the East Midlands, has 15 community champions using handheld computers supplied by waste contractor Serco.
Emma Boon of the TaxPayers Alliance said: Councils shouldnt be asking people to spy on their neighbours it could breed resentment within communities.(Daily Mail, 11.12.2011, Lucy Ballinger and Louise Eccles) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2060522/Big-Brother-alert-surge-citizen-spies-thousands-volunteer-snoop-neighbours.html
The astonishing extent of Britains surveillance society was revealed for the first time yesterday.
Three million snooping operations have been carried out over the past decade under controversial anti-terror laws.
They include tens of thousands of undercover missions by councils and other state bodies which are not responsible for law enforcement.
Cases include a family who were spied on to check they were not cheating on school catchment area rules and so-called bin criminals.
The campaign group Justice is demanding the hugely controversial Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act under which all the operations were authorised be scrapped altogether.
The groups report, titled Freedom from Suspicion, says: The UK has, in the space of 40 years, gone from a society in which mass surveillance was largely a theoretical possibility to one in which it has become not only ubiquitous but routine.
RIPA, billed as anti-terror legislation, was passed by Labour in 2000 supposedly to regulate snooping by public bodies. But Justice, which has campaigned on privacy matters for decades, says the result has been a huge increase in intrusive surveillance.
Since the Act was passed, there have been:
The report says: RIPA has not only failed to check a great deal of plainly excessive surveillance by public bodies over the last decade but, in many cases, inadvertently encouraged it.
Its poor drafting has allowed councils to snoop, phone hacking to flourish, privileged conversations to be illegally recorded and CCTV to spread. It is also badly out of date.
The report follows a string of revelations by the Mail about over-zealous officials training hidden cameras and even undercover agents on the law-abiding public. These include spying on those suspected of dropping litter and attempting to cheat school catchment area rules.
Council staff who have been accused of having James Bond delusions have been secretly taking photographs and video of the public.
In some cases, cameras have been hidden in tin cans, or inside the homes of the neighbours of their target.
Most notoriously, Poole Council admitted spying on a family to find out if they were really living in a school catchment area. Jenny Paton and her family were put under surveillance without their knowledge for more than two weeks.
The council admitted using RIPA powers on six occasions in total. Three of those were for suspected fraudulent school place applications.
The Coalitions Protection of Freedoms Bill will reform RIPA forcing councils to get authorisation from a magistrate before they can go on spying missions. But Justice says the new safeguards are insufficient and RIPA should be scrapped. It calls for an entirely new regime to be put in place.
Justices Angela Patrick said: The time has come for Parliament to undertake root-and-branch reform of Britains surveillance powers and provide genuinely effective safeguards against abuse.
The report also warns that Britain has the largest DNA database in the world and the largest number of CCTV cameras. It highlights how the public readily hands over information, via supermarket loyalty cards and Oyster London Underground travel passes, which can be used to track a persons movements.
A Home Office spokesman said: The first duty of the state is the protection of its citizens, but this should never be an excuse for the government to intrude into peoples private lives. This is why we are changing the law to restore common sense and prevent local authorities using surveillance for trivial offences." (James Slack, 11.04.2011) www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2057336/Big-brothers-3-million-targets-Massive-surge-intrusive-surveillance-state-snoopers.html
"To Achieve One World
Government it is necessary to remove from the minds of men their individualism,
their loyalty to family traditions and national identification." (Brock Chisholm - Director of the World Health Organization)
"A society whose citizens refuse to see and investigate the facts, who refuse to believe that their government and their media will routinely lie to them and fabricate a reality contrary to verifiable facts, is a society that chooses and deserves the Police State Dictatorship it's going to get." (Ian Williams Goddard)
The fact is that "political correctness" is all about creating uniformity. Individualism is one of the biggest obstacles in the way of the New World Order. They want a public that is predictable and conditioned to do as it's told without asking questions.
"The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first." Thomas Jefferson