Downing Street tells us that child spies are used very rarely by British police and intelligence agencies, and only when it is judged really vital. How reassuring. We would not know they were being used at all were it not for government plans to relax the controls on their use.
The House of Lords committee on secondary legislation has revealed that children are being used in covert operations against terrorists, gangs and drug dealers, and child sexual exploitation (and in doing so, incidentally, demonstrated parliament at its best and most useful, in a week where it has often looked at its worst).
Two police officers accused of spying on the sister of a former paratrooper who was unlawfully killed in police custody have been cleared by a disciplinary panel.
The two officers, who were given anonymity, had been accused of running an unauthorised and intrusive surveillance operation against Janet Alder during an inquest into the death of her brother Christopher.