UK: The Chief Surveillance Commissioner – Key issues arising from my inspections

Police undercover operations

In the light of the HMCIC report into the activities of the undercover officer Mark Kennedy, I have agreed to examine, and am examining during inspections, some authorisations of CHIS who are law enforcement officers and who have been authorised continuously for a period exceeding 12 months in relation to ‘domestic extremism’. I am also agreeable in principle to Commissioners giving prior approval to certain kinds of such activity by a CHIS, provided that the OSC is given the appropriate resources to deal with the number of cases which arise and subject to any necessary legislation conferring the power.

Existence of an authorisation of itself will not prevent the problems associated with the Mark Kennedy affair. A difficulty with the police process is the understandable desire that a Chief Constable be aware of all activity taking place in his area of responsibility. (pdf at