British police and intelligence agencies are using children as spies in covert operations against terrorists, gangs and drug dealers.
A committee of the House of Lords revealed the practice while raising the alarm over government plans to give law enforcement bodies more freedom over their use of children.
Some of the child spies are aged under 16, the committee says, adding that it was worried about proposals to extend from one month to four the period of time between each occasion that child spies go through a re-registration process.
“We are concerned that enabling a young person to participate in covert activity associated with serious crime for an extended period of time may increase the risks to their mental and physical welfare,” said the committee, chaired by Lord Trefgarne, a former Tory government minister.
The House of Lords secondary legislation scrutiny committee raised concerns over the orders in a report published last Thursday.
Home Office correspondence with the committee, published in the report, suggests children are not only used to furnish the police with information, but are also assigned to collect information on behalf of agencies.
Source: The Guardian