New undercover guidelines contain absurd get-out-clause

standwus-icon Repost of Police Spies Out of Live blog.

Today the College of Policing published a draft ‘Authorised Professional Practice’ for Undercover Police. This is the first time that such Guidelines have been published, and it is welcome, although  that they have been forced to publish it by huge pressure for change from people affected by undercover infiltration, and the public at large. Its contents are not hugely reassuring. Positively, they do state that intimate sexual relationships will never be authorised or used as a tactic:

It is never acceptable for a UCO (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.

However they go on to give themselves an unnecessary and absurd get-out-clause, suggesting it is ok for an officer to have sex if his life is being threatened, or similar:

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. In such extreme circumstances UCOs must record and report this to the cover officer at the earliest opportunity. The authorising officer will be informed immediately and the circumstances investigated for welfare and training purposes, potential breaches of discipline or criminal offenses and to allow an appraisal of the operation.

There is no need for this get-out-clause. It suggests there is enough grey area that officers just need to find themselves an excuse for committing these abuses. It risks enabling these abuses to continue.

It is also essential that these guidelines are not seen as enough. Many of the women, deceived by undercover officers into intimate sexual relationships, see the practice as tantamount to rape. The psychological abuse that ensues from it is devastating, and the police themselves have admitted it is an abuse of human rights. It therefore should be outlawed in legal statute, as well as in these codes of practice, which can only lead to disciplinary procedures.

These guidelines are in draft form, and they invite you to comment on them. Tell them to get rid of the get-out-clause, and to outlaw this behaviour in legal statute!

More:

  • ‘Lisa’ and comment on new guidelines at 48mins into Victoria Derbyshire – iPlayer.
  • Sex and drugs off limits for undercover police .Covert officers can have sex or take drugs with suspects only when ‘necessary and proportionate’ under new guidelines, Press Association, The Guardian, 29 June 2016
  • Actually the new guidelines grant them a loophole, they can use sex if feeling „threatened“. See on Twitter.

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