Liberty slams bugging bill

Amendments to the Police Bill accepted by the Lords last week are inadequate, Liberty director John Wadham said at a Law Society briefing on the Bill in the Commons last week.

Prior to the amendments, the Bill allowed a chief constable to authorise bugging operations and use information obtained as evidence. But Labour's amendment says intrusive surveillance should take place only with prior approval by a judge acting as a commissioner.

Wadham said: “I think that Labour needs to admit that it got it wrong. We need a real judge, not a judge dressed up as a commissioner, stamping a chief constable's decision.”