Scores of Government bodies, the armed forces and even the gambling regulator will legally be allowed to use child spies – including against their parents.
Police and the security services are among those who will be allowed to use under-18s as covert human intelligence sources (CHIS) under ‘exceptional circumstances’ according to official documents.
But guidance for the Covert Intelligence Bill, currently going through the Lords, outlines other public bodies who will be allowed to employ them as undercover agents.
As well as police, MI5, MI6 and the National Crime Agency, they include the Gambling Commission, county and district councils, the Environment Agency and the Food Standards Agency.
The document, which has been published online, prohibits those under 16 from being used to inform on their parents or guardians.
But it permits the use of older teenagers to be used against their own family under special circumstances.