THEY can show up without notice or warrants and with 1,208 reasons to enter your home, workplace or land without your permission.
This is Gordon Brown’s new model army of snoopers, which is gaining new home invasion powers at the rate of two a week.
The Prime Minister promised a crackdown on them in 2007 but it is Conservative peer Lord Selson who is leading the fightback.
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His private member’s Powers of Entry Bill has created a full list of the bizarre and obscure legislation that gives thousands of jobsworths the right to enter your home. The list, due to be published next week, would be used by a Conservative government to launch consultation with councils and Whitehall aimed at striking out scores of out-dated and unnecessary laws.
And the Tories have promised that whatever laws remain, no official will ever be able to enter your home again without obtaining a court warrant first.
From checking the energy rating on your fridge, to ensuring you are not working on an atom bomb in the kitchen – our snooper laws are as far-reaching as they are bizarre.
Officials can gain entry using the same level of powers to search for cluster bombs as they can for a clutch of eggs. Lord Selson’s third attempt at curbing these ridiculous laws could become law before Parliament breaks up.
Lord Selson has won praise from civil liberties groups for his dogged determination over two decades to rein back the snoopers.
He said: “People should not be allowed to go into someone’s home, search it and seize data without a court order or a warrant. I just believe in individual freedom.”
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He had to hire a private team to create a full list of powers of entry because Whitehall departments could not provide a list of all their sprawling snooper laws. Alex Deane, director of Big Brother Watch, said 20,000 town hall officials have the right of entry.
“In the end every house will have something about it that means officials can gain access to your home,” he said.
In 2007 Mr Brown said he shared “the concerns about the liberties and rights of the citizen”.
Now there are 418 pieces of legislation which allow council officials to enter your home without a warrant. Labour has merely promised a consultation document if it is re-elected and a “draft code of practice” on powers of entry.