Government denies entrapment reports

Home Office says no to entrapment legislation, but is that the end of the debate?
Written by Wendy McAuliffe, Contributor

The government has denied reports of its intention to introduce entrapment laws into the UK following the prosecution of Patrick Green last week.

Green was the first person to be sentenced in the UK for assaulting a minor after seducing her in a chat room.

Entrapment laws would, according to legal experts, allow the police to lure online paedophiles before crimes are committed against children. However under section 78 of the Police and Criminal Act, police acting as "agent provocateurs" are unable to present evidence gathered as it is made inadmissible by the covert tactic. Article 6 of the EU Convention on Human Rights also guarantees the right to a fair trial. It also outlaws evidence gathered by entrapment.

A Home Office spokesperson told ZDNet Monday: "The government has no current plans to amend the laws relating to entrapment."

The government's stance appears steadfast: both the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and the National Crime Intelligence Squad (NCIS) have confirmed discussions with Blair's Labour administration on the matter. Both have been turned down, although NCIS hinted that the Home Office could be about to make some sort of announcement. "We're waiting for the Home Office to comment when the legislation comes into force," said an NCIS spokesperson.

The power to mount "sting" operations in the UK could initially be targeted at paedophiles who use Internet chatrooms to meet children and 'groom' them for abusive relationships. The new law would allow police officers to go online posing as children so potential offenders can be caught soliciting.

To have your say online click on the TalkBack button and go to the ZDNet News forum.

Let the editors know what you think in the Mailroom. And read what others have said.

Editorial standards