Undercover policing draft guidance: contradictions made clear 4.7.16


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Last week the College of Policing launched a six week consultation on guidance regarding the use of undercover policing for intelligence and evidence-gathering in England and Wales. An article in online newspaper The Canary makes clear some of the problems with the draft guidance.


The article notes:

"Unfortunately, there is very little in the guidance to show that undercover policing has become “proportionate, lawful and ethical”.

The headline news the police want us to take away from this new guidance is that “sex and drugs are now off limits to undercover officers”. It is great that the report says:

'It is never acceptable for a UCO to form an intimate sexual relationship with those they are employed to infiltrate and target or may encounter during their deployment. This conduct will never be authorised, nor must it ever be used as a tactic of a deployment.'

But it is immediately followed by a massive caveat:

'If a UCO engages in unauthorised sexual activity for whatever reason (for example, they perceive an immediate threat to themselves and/or others if they do not do so) this activity will be restricted to the minimum conduct necessary to mitigate the threat.'

Pretty much the same get out clause is given in relation to drug taking. And this is the problem. How an officer perceives an “immediate threat”."

See: Undercover police say they will no longer form sexual relationships, but there’s a big problem (The Canary, link)

Official documentation: Undercover policing guidance published (College of Policing, link) and the draft guidance: Undercover policing: Authorised Professional Practice (80 pages, pdf)

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