More than 5,000 HMRC investigations last year used special surveillance laws to allow the taxman to spy on individuals (read the story here).
There was always a worry that this piece of law, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, was going to be misused – a real civil liberties concern.
There were assurances that it would only be used in extreme cases involving smuggling and the like but usage at such a rate is pretty alarming and might just indicate it’s being used in areas where it was never intended.
Just one year in and a compelling case for an detailed audit and review of what’s going on with this controversial piece of legislation looks as if its made itself. The Home Office needs to commission an independent body to look at its use now. The public, and taxpayers, will need reassuring such extraordinary powers are being used appropriately and not on a whim.