Abuse fears over police techniques

A LEADING criminal lawyer has warned of dangers posed by new police crime-fighting techniques.

Tony Edwards, president of the London Criminal Court Solicitors' Association, has called for a code of conduct to protect against abuses of a new generation of sophisticated detection methods.

Surveillance work, the use of informants and the practice of targeting, where resources are channelled into catching known criminals, are three techniques becoming increasingly popular, according to Edwards.

The senior partner at London firm TV Edwards links the use of these techniques with a realisation by police that the change in the right to silence law would not have the effect they thought it would. “We seem to have controlled the excesses of the new law. The police are realising that interviews are not an answer and they must look at other techniques. These must be covered by a proper code of conduct.”

Edwards was due to discuss the problem at the Criminal Law Solicitors' Association annual conference on Saturday.