Our busybody officials

NORTH Lanarkshire has come FOURTH out of more than 300 local authorities in a UK-wide survey of how many staff from each council can search your home or workplace without a warrant or police escort.

The information has come from a civil liberties group which wants to highlight privacy issues - but NLC has blasted the 'Barging In' study as "scaremongering" and says it is solely aimed at causing unnecessary worry and distress to the public.

The authority adds that the figure mainly covers business premises - and that staff would only use power of entry as a last resort dealing with issues such as child protection, crime and animal welfare.

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Big Brother Watch, the new campaign from the founders of the influential TaxPayers' Alliance, aims to fight intrusions on privacy and protecting liberties.

Through Freedom of Information requests sent to every single local council in Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Big Brother Watch said it has arrived at a total figure for the number of environmental health tech-nicians, anti-social behaviour officers, safety control inspectors and so on who, on June 15, 2009, if they so wished, could enter your private residence or place of work.

See this week's Cumbernauld News for the full story.