Law professor advises Parliament on the regulation of police and security informants

Covert Human Intelligence Sources (informants) are the subject of highly controversial legislation before Parliament. An important review quotes advice from Professor Emeritus Clive Walker.

The Joint Committee on Human Rights published its report, Legislative Scrutiny: Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill (2019–21 HC 847/HL Paper 164), on 10 November 2020. The proposed legislation provides a legal basis for a variety of public authorities to authorise informants, covert agents and undercover officers to engage in criminal conduct. The use of such agents is unavoidable for the effective functioning of the intelligence services and the police. However, state sanctioned criminality has the obvious potential to violate human rights. Specific constraints, searching scrutiny and strong oversight are therefore essential, but the Bill as it stands does not meet these essential requirements.

The submission by Professor Emeritus Clive Walker is referred to at various points by the Report, culminating in the following quotation (at para.27): "In his submission, Professor Clive Walker, Professor Emeritus at the University of Leeds and Senior Special Advisor to the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, states that there is 'a need for a far more comprehensive and considered response to the problems inevitably engendered by CHIS” and that “there is a chasm between the Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill and the extent of reform now required.'”