The Home Affairs Select Committee is examining undercover policing. It follows the case of Mark Kennedy from Nottingham, a Metropolitan Police Officer, who began a relationship with one of the environmental activists he was investigating.
As the Home Affairs Select Committee acknowledges, undercover police operations are a vital element of the fight against organised crime and terrorism but it is crucial covert powers are used proportionately and that effective human rights safeguards are in place.
The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act already provides strong safeguards but we recognise the system can be improved.
The Home Office is already working with the police and others to implement recommendations from HM Inspectorate of Constabulary.
Here are some of the conclusions from the Home Affairs Select Committee interim report.
On undercover policing:
We are not satisfied that the current legislative framework provides adequate protection against police infiltration into ordinary peoples' lives - a far more intrusive form of surveillance than any listening device or hidden camera.
On sexual relations:
We do not believe that officers should enter into intimate, physical sexual relationships while using their false identities undercover without clear, prior authorisation, which should only be given in the most exceptional circumstances.
In particular, it is unacceptable that a child should be brought into the world as a result of such a relationship and this must never be allowed to happen again.
On using dead childrens' identities:
The practice of 'resurrecting' dead children as cover identities for undercover police officers was not only ghoulish and disrespectful, it could potentially have placed bereaved families in real danger of retaliation.
The families who have been affected by this deserve an explanation and a full and unambiguous apology from the forces concerned.