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The Human Rights Act 1998 which came into force in October 2002, gave domestic effect to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).  Section 6 of the 1998 Act provides that it is unlawful for public authorities to act in any way which is incompatible with a convention right.

There are situations in which local authority employees, in the course of their duties, will have to carry out investigations and activities which, by the nature of the investigation, are covert.  It is essential that covert investigations are therefore compatible with Article 8 of ECHR which states that everyone has the right to respect for family and private life, his home and correspondence.

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