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Covert Investigation

Covert Investigation

Clive Harfield and Karen Harfield
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date: 02 December 2023

p. 25414 What Does Good Covert Investigation Look Like?locked

p. 25414 What Does Good Covert Investigation Look Like?locked

  • Clive Harfield
  •  and Karen Harfield


This chapter examines the corrosion of community confidence and trust in public authorities for veiling wrongdoings behind secrecy provisions instead of exposing the matter and holding the perpetrator accountable. It details how suspicion inevitably arises when secrecy is employed to shield what was a purposeful and intentional misuse of power rather than an unwitting error. It also looks at the disclosures of undercover officers' morally harmful conduct, revelations about mass surveillance, and exposure of unlawful hacking for commercial profit that have tainted the profession of covert investigation. The chapter confirms that covert investigations sit within the context of community safety or within the context of national or regime security. It highlights the aspects of moral justification that must underpin the ethics of covert investigation.

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