The Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill (‘the Bill’)
is making its way through Parliament and is currently at the Report Stage of the House of Lords.
If enacted, the Bill will provide the statutory framework for certain public authorities to a) authorise a Covert Human Intelligence Source (‘CHIS’) and b) authorise a CHIS to commit what would otherwise be criminal conduct. Owing to its potential scope, the Bill has come under fire from several political parties and campaign groups, which described the Bill as ‘a licence for government agencies to authorise torture and murder.’
The Government meanwhile has stated that a ‘CHIS will never be given unlimited authority to commit any and all crimes.’
So why is this happening now and what does this mean?