7 February 2011

Rules relating to police spies: a couple of common sense suggestions

Orde has egg all over his face, so he is forced to recommend some compromises. But no-one should hold his or her breath and think that somehow Britain’s secret police state will be checked or held to account as a result. If the police commanders can lie with impunity to Parliament, they can do the same to the judiciary.

Sending police agents as spies into civic organisations is rarely justifiable. But in those cases when it is, the police should have to present convincing evidence to a judge that activists in that organisation are planning specified illegal acts which would cause intended personal injury or major damage to property. Infiltration for general surveillance is never justifiable.

Any such order should stipulate the rules of operation for the agent and the length of time the order is in force. Twelve months after the expiry of the order, the order and its contents should be made public.

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