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Warrant worries

PUBLISHED: 14:25 30 December 2009 | UPDATED: 15:45 16 August 2010

A PRESSURE group has warned that the privacy of homeowners could be at risk as they revealed that thousands of council officers

A PRESSURE group has warned that the privacy of homeowners could be at risk as they revealed that thousands of council officers have the power to enter private property without a warrant. A report by Big Brother Watch, entitled Barging In, has revealed that at least 14,793 officers nationwide have powers to enter private property without a warrant or police escort. A Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request revealed that Bromley council has the most officers in the area with these powers at 89. Greenwich council has 52 officers who have the power to enter property without warrants or police escort and neighbouring councils Gravesham and Dartford have 43 and 77 respectively. But 27 per cent of the country's local authorities, including Bexley council, failed to answer the FOIA claiming that the request would take longer than the statutory 18 hours to complete. State inspectors were handed the power on June 15 to help local authorities crack down on anti-social behaviour or carry out environmental health surveys.

A spokesperson for Bromley, council was unavailable for comment.

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