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Covert Investigation

Covert Investigation

Clive Harfield and Karen Harfield
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date: 02 December 2023

p. 20412 Covert Human Intelligence Sourceslocked

p. 20412 Covert Human Intelligence Sourceslocked

  • Clive Harfield
  •  and Karen Harfield


This chapter discusses the deployment of a covert human intelligence source (CHIS), which has been equated with directed surveillance in the hierarchy of covert investigation methods and statutory regulation. It considers CHIS as a lesser intrusion into an individual's private life when compared with deploying an audio or a video-recording device inside that person's dwelling or eavesdropping on a telephone conversation that person might have. It also reviews the involvement of direct engagement and interaction with the subject of an investigation and third parties in the deployment of a CHIS. The chapter suggests that the area of investigation methodology of CHIS engages far greater moral and legal complexity than the current statutory regime recognizes. It details the extraordinary revelations arising from the conduct of some officers within the Metropolitan Police Service's Special Demonstration Squad (SDS), which present the extreme end of the moral and material dangers that ensue from CHIS deployment.

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