In his role as Security Minister, James Brokenshire has introduced the Covert Human Intelligence Sources (CHIS) Bill to Parliament which underpins the work of MI5, police and other public authorities tackling serous crimes.
Undercover operatives and agents play a crucial role in preventing and safeguarding victims from the most serious crimes, including terrorism and child sexual abuse. In order to gain the trust of those under investigation, there are occasions where they need to participate in criminality themselves. This is a longstanding capability which remains critical for national security.
The Covert Human Intelligence Sources Bill provides a clear and consistent statutory basis for a limited number of public authorities to continue to authorise participation in criminality, in carefully managed circumstances.
It provides certainty to public authorities already using this critical capability and confirms a common set of safeguards which they are bound by, including compliance with human rights.
Commenting, James said:
“We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the men and women who put themselves in often dangerous situations in order to protect our national security and keep the public safe.”
“In the course of this vital work, it may be necessary for agents to participate in criminal activity in order to gain the trust of those under investigation.”
“This is a critical capability and is subject to robust, independent oversight. It is important that those with a responsibility to protect the public can continue this work, knowing that they are on a sound legal footing.”