How to do a compliance check: establishing the facts: covert surveillance: levels of covert activity
There are three levels of covert activity:
- basic fact check: no authorisation needed
- covert surveillance to observe business activity: authorised officer agreement needed
- directed surveillance likely to result in obtaining private information about a person: authorised officer agreement and Directed Surveillance Authority (DSA) needed.
Basic fact check - not surveillance
A single walk or drive by of a business premises to make simple observations. Perhaps to establish the size of a unit, to see if the business is trading, see the external condition of a shop, or obtain details from shop signage. During this you must not engage with people or third parties.
Covert surveillance to observe business activity
- Repeated walk by, drive by or visit to a business to monitor, for example, opening times
- Test purchases
- Test eats
- Observing cash handling procedures
- Counting staff and customers
- Observing how customers pay.
- Taking descriptions
- Recording conversations
- Monitoring a person’s movements and activities.
You can find out more about the three levels of covert activity in a guide produced by the Central Authorities Bureau which is available via the ISBC Guidance Gateway listed under Covert Surveillance.