UK: Draft undercover policing guidance published


"The draft guidance says undercover operatives can only work once they have been accredited by the professional body, which involves going through a selection process and undergoing vetting and specialist training.

There are two types of undercover operative:

An undercover foundation operative carries out low-level infiltration that does not require the ability to withstand intense scrutiny by people who are potentially suspicious. For example, buying drugs on the street.

An undercover advanced operative is trained to undertake deployments involving higher-level infiltrations and they must be able to withstand intense scrutiny from anyone who may be suspicious. For example, counter terrorism work.

The draft guidance sets out clearly the roles and responsibilities of police officers from those who are deployed on operations, to those who supervise and manage undercover officers and authorise operations."


See: Undercover policing guidance published (College of Policing, link) and: Undercover policing: Authorised Professional Practice (80 pages, pdf)

See also: Undercover police 'rulebook' published for first time (BBC News, link): "The new rule book states: "It is never acceptable for an Undercover Officer 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.""

And: No sex for undercover cops, according to police draft guidance (The Justice Gap, link)

See: Undercover Police Research (link) and The Pitchford Inquiry (link) plus: Police Spies Out of Lives (link) have produced two briefings on issues related to secrecy and openness a the Pitchford Inquiry, which is due to examine the undercover police work in England and Wales since 1968.

  • Secrets beyond lies: the police and state's requests for secrecy (pdf). An overview of the secrecy requests made by the police and state bodies to the Public Inquiry into Undercover Policing.
  • Open Inquiry, Open Justice (pdf). A guide to the submission by non-police non-state Core Participants [those affected directly by undercover police officers, campaign groups, and so on] to the Public Inquiry into Undercover Policing, in response to police and state requests for secrecy.
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