This response addresses JUSTICE’s concerns with the draft revised Code of Practice issued pursuant to the Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Act 2021, and its corresponding consultation. The Act created a new mechanism which certain Public Bodies can use, called Criminal Conduct Authorisations. CCAs render crimes that Covert Human Intelligence Sources commit lawful for all purposes.
This response follows on from the significant work that JUSTICE has undertaken in relation to the Act as it progressed through Parliament between 2020 and 2021. We remain opposed to the granting of legal immunity to CHIS who commit crimes, and consider that children and vulnerable individuals should never be deployed in this way.
This is because the granting of CCAs inherently means that the Government is content to create victims of crime, many of whom may be incidental or completely unrelated to the investigation at hand. Indeed, the children used as CHIS are likely to be victims themselves, given the Government’s acknowledgement of their role in ‘county lines’ operations. The Government recognises the importance of placing victims at the heart of criminal justice processes. The Draft Code of Practice must be aligned to this aim, and ensure appropriate safeguards and measures are in place.
For JUSTICE’s briefings on the Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Act 2021, see here.