Undercover police spies given go-ahead for affairs if it makes their false identity more convincing

But operations must be strictly managed according to the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000

It’s a tough job: Home Office Minister Nick Herbert has given police the go-ahead to have sex with suspects

Undercover police officers can start sexual relationships with suspected criminals to make their false identity more convincing, a Home Office minister said yesterday.

Nick Herbert said officers were permitted to have sex as part of their job, under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, but the legislation meant the operations were strictly managed.

There had been confusion about whether undercover police were allowed to go that far following the collapse of a case against environmental activists in Nottinghamshire.

It emerged the group was infiltrated by an officer called Mark Kennedy, who had been in sexual relationships with two women in the campaign.

Mr Herbert said it was important police were allowed to have sex with activists because otherwise it could be used as a way of outing potential undercover officers.

Speaking in a debate in Westminster Hall, Mr Herbert said: ‘In very limited circumstances, authorisation under Ripa Part 2 may render unlawful conduct with the criminal if it is consentutory conduct falling within the Act that the source is authorised to undertake.

Find this story at 14 June 2012

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