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Covert Investigation

Covert Investigation

Clive Harfield and Karen Harfield
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date: 02 December 2023

p. 31 Moral Foundations for Covert Investigationlocked

p. 31 Moral Foundations for Covert Investigationlocked

  • Clive Harfield
  •  and Karen Harfield


This chapter introduces the sort of dialogue and its associated lexicon that is necessary to use when debating and developing practitioner guidance on the ethics of covert investigation. It describes a future developed guidance that will be derived from a professional and philosophical narrative that explains the ‘what for’, the ‘when’, and the ‘why’ of covert investigation. It also serves to assist investigators and authorizing officers in structuring their considerations and measuring their actions. The chapter stresses how covert investigation operates in an arena of permanent tension between preserving respect for individual human dignity and maximizing utility so long as any good generated outweighs any harm caused. It covers human dignity, which is distinguished in international law and some non-UK jurisdictions.

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