"The ‘spy powers bill’ is a step too far..."
By Brian Paddick
The 'spy powers bill' is a step too far - all parties should unite to oppose it in the Lords
The Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill would give police informants total immunity. Yet the government has failed to provide any evidence as to why that's necessary
Having served as a police officer for more than 30 years, I know that it is an undesirable but necessary part of policing to rely on informants, or "covert human intelligence sources" as they are now known. And, on occasion, those informants need to be tasked to commit crime.
In fact, I was once a "controller", responsible for controlling the way police "handlers" used and rewarded informants, and I have spoken to many former controllers and handlers about their experiences.
Now, because of a legal challenge, the government has been forced to put that tasking on a statutory footing. That is why it has brought forward the Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill, which we are debating in the House of Lords today (11.01.21).
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