British police are using children as undercover agents to infiltrate organised crime gangs and terrorist groups. And a new law means the children don’t have access to a parent or lawyer while meeting with their police handlers.
Children should be in the classroom. Instead the police are putting them in danger. Why are the cops using undercover kids to catch criminals?
Hi, I'm Leon Hawthorne. We used to send children up chimneys and down coal mines. Now British police are sending them onto the streets to catch dangerous criminals.
Children are being turned into confidential informants by the police and intelligence services. Kids who come into contact with the authorities are being flipped, converted into spies, wired and told to get close to drug dealers, terrorists and organised crime gangs.
Yes, I really did just say that. In 2018, our government thinks this is acceptable.
CLIP: 'White Boy Rick'
The news comes as a new Hollywood movie - 'White Boy Rick' - is released. It tells the true story of Richard Wershe, a 15-year old, used by the FBI to infiltrate a drug gang.
Just like White Boy Rick, most of these kids are not angels. Probably, they are already involved in crime, but the job of the state surely is to remove them from that environment, not encourage them to get even more involved, placing them at serious risk of violence, perhaps murder, if their cover is blown.
Security Minister, Ben Wallace said: "[child spies] have a vital role to play in investigations by public authorities and can provide crucial evidence that cannot be obtained by any other means”.
But the Home Office refuses to say how many children have been used or whether any of them have been killed or suffered serious physical harm during the time they were acting as informants.
In July, the government changed the law simply by writing an Order in Council. This is like writing a letter, which has the same effect as passing a Bill through parliament, but does not require the same degree of scrutiny.
The Regulation of Investigatory Powers (Juveniles) (Amendment) Order allows police to use children as spies for four months; and removes safeguards for 16 and 17 year olds to have lawyers or parents present during their meetings with police handlers.
The Children's Commissioner says she has been lobbying government for a change in policy: “It can’t be right that children are put in potential danger, for any reason, and their safety must always be the top priority.”
The truth is many of these children are black or poor white working class; and frankly, the authorities don't have their interests in mind. They will end up like White Boy Rick. When he stopped working for the Feds, he got further into crime and spent 30 years in prison.
CLIP: 'White Boy Rick' "Ask yourself this: would you believe a 15 year old kid was working for the federal government?" "But he was."