Liberty is calling for prior judicial approval of all police use of undercover cops.

Why is Lawrence Amendment important?

Stephen Lawrence was murdered by racists in London in 1993. It has emerged that the Lawrences were targeted by covert officers following his death, hunting for intelligence to smear the family and undermine their fight for justice.

The police should never have been allowed to put imposters in the Lawrence home and these abuses won’t stop until they are subject to proper oversight.

Liberty has drafted an amendment, endorsed by Stephen’s mother Doreen Lawrence, to the current criminal justice bill, requiring judicial sign-off before undercover cops can be used.

How can I get involved and take action?

Email your MP

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Email your MP now and urge them to back Liberty’s “Lawrence amendment” to the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill.

The amendment would require police forces wishing to deploy undercover operatives to satisfy a High Court judge that it was necessary and proportionate.

Tell me more about Lawrence Amendment

Liberty has long called for Covert Human Intelligence Sources (CHIS) to be authorised by the courts before deployment. CHIS are people who, under direction from a public authority, establish or maintain relationships in order to obtain or disclose information. The power is available to numerous bodies, including police forces and local authorities.

Authorisation currently takes place under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) 2000. Section 29 allows officers within particular organisations, such as police forces, to authorise the use of agents and informants without any external approval.

Liberty is calling for prior judicial approval of all police use of CHIS. We have drafted the “Lawrence amendment” which could be tabled as an amendment to the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill the latest criminal justice legislation going through Parliament.

The amendment would require police forces wishing to deploy undercover operatives to satisfy a High Court judge that it was necessary and proportionate.

Following revelations about abuses of power by undercover officers such as Mark Kennedy, the Government has announced proposals for the Office of Surveillance Commissioners (OSC) to be notified at the start of covert deployments and to approve any lasting over a year. Despite the Government’s claims, this falls short of “enhanced judicial oversight”. Rather it will continue a self-authorisation system where applications for deployment and renewals are never considered by a serving judge.