Entrapment – What is it?

August 3, 2018

Entrapment describes the situation where a person is enticed, incited or encouraged to commit an offence that they would not have otherwise committed.

How is this relevant?

Undercover police officers are often used in drug related offences.  Officers will become familiar with local drug users and suppliers, with a view to providing evidence for supply-related offending.  Many people question whether this makes the officer an “agent provocateur”?

Some argue that the person wouldn’t have committed the offence unless the officer had enticed them to do so.  But, in law, there is a difference between an officer causing the offending as opposed to simply providing an opportunity for someone to commit the offence, albeit by (for example) supplying an officer with drugs rather than someone else.

Is it a defence?

No – entrapment is not a defence.  However, depending on the level of persuasion, there may be scope for seeking to exclude some of the officer’s evidence from going in front of the jury.   If there is a good reason to question the trustworthiness of the evidence, the judge may decide that it should be excluded.  The Court will generally allow the evidence if the officers provide a person with an unexceptional opportunity to commit a crime and a person then freely takes advantage of that opportunity.  But, if an officer instigated an offence by luring a person into a course of action or offence that he wouldn’t have normally have followed, this would be different.

Do undercover officers have rules to follow?

There is an Undercover Operations Code of Practice issued by all UK police authorities and HM Customs and Excise – and this provides a framework for deciding what evidence should or should not be admissible.

How Tuckers Solicitors can help you…

To discuss anything to do with entrapment or undercover police officers, please contact us on 020 7388 8333 or email info@tuckerssolicitors.com and we will gladly assist.

Our offices are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, ready to deliver immediate and expert legal advice and representation.