Rules for undercover cops, UK edition

In 2012, a scandal erupted in the UK when it was revealed that undercover police officers infiltrated environmental groups, seduced and impregnated their members, and then abandoned them.

The women involved spoke out about their sense of violation -- the foundational injustice of the government paying people to trick them into having sex with state agents and then leaving them as single parents.

In the years since, some of the officers involved have spoken out about the unethical conduct they found themselves pressured to engage in, and the toll it took on them.

The College of Policing has published a consultation draft of its "Undercover policing: Authorised Professional Practice" materials, which address sexual relations, drugs-taking, acting as agents provacteurs, and the "ELBOW" mnemonic for police notebooks: no Erasures;
no Leaves torn out;
no Blank spaces;
no Overwriting;
no Writing between the lines;
no Statements in direct speech.

7.12 Conduct: sexual relationships and sexual
activity

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.
The civil case of DIL v MPC 2014 EWHC 2184 (QB) resulted in
substantial compensation payments and the public naming of two
former UCOs. It was acknowledged that long-term sexual
relationships are never acceptable in undercover policing, a
position also stated in a report from Operation Herne by Chief
Constable Mick Creedon (March 2014).

Conduct may be authorised that involves communications of a
sexual nature (for example, online) where the authorising officer
believes it is necessary and proportionate to operational
objectives. The parameters of the conduct must be considered
and set by the authorising officer, and will be subject to regular
and careful review.

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 offences and to allow
an appraisal of the operation.


7.13 Conduct: controlled drugs


The taking of controlled drugs by a UCO will not be authorised as
a tactic of a deployment.

If a UCO takes controlled drugs because they perceive an
immediate threat to themselves and/or others if they do not do so,
this should be restricted to the minimum extent necessary to
mitigate the threat. They must record and report this to the cover
officer at the earliest opportunity so that the:

* operative can receive medical attention

* authorising officer is informed

* circumstances can be investigated for welfare and training
purposes, potential breaches of discipline or criminal
offences and to allow an appraisal of the operation.

7.15 Conduct: agent provocateur

Agent provocateur has been defined as a person who entices
another to commit an express breach of the law which they would
not otherwise have committed and then proceeds to inform
against them in respect of such an offence.

Case law has established that conduct by UCOs which does no
more than present the subject(s) of the operation with an
unexceptional opportunity to commit a crime which they would
have committed with another is perfectly acceptable (R v Loosely
[2001] UKHL 53). However, the UCO must not instigate the
commission of a crime which would not otherwise have been
committed with somebody else.

Undercover policing
Authorised Professional Practice
[College of Policing]


(via Sean Bonner)

(Image: Met-police-armoured-truck, Cayetano, CC-BY-SA)