As it stands, the Police Bill does not prevent the police invading the privacy of ordinary people who are quite properly seeking legal advice. This is because bugging equipment by its nature is indiscriminate. All clients visiting a solicitor whose office is under surveillance would have their conversations taped in the course of a surveillance operation.
Chief constables also suggest incorrectly that there are constitutional difficulties in making bugging and other covert surveillance techniques subject to prior judicial authority. It is the long-established role of our judiciary to balance the interests of the individual with those of the state, and this is clearly recognised in legislation such as the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984.
Chairman, Courts and Legal Services Committee
The Law Society