undercover operations and laws

 Undercover Operations
Undercover operations represent the most comprehensively deceptive strategies of law
enforcement. Particularly in deep undercover operations, those involved not only lie
about many specific facts and issues, but must fabricate entire identities and personal
histories to gain the confidence of criminal suspects and access to evidence of their
criminal activities. These massive deceptions may be carried out over months or years,
and may entail developing intimate relationships with suspects, and even perpetration of
criminal activities to maintain the charade. Arguably, a particular form of undercover
operation--the “sting”--

 could represent the most ethically questionable deceptive law
enforcement technique, in that police target a person they believe to be involved in a
particular type of criminal activity, and pose as either other perpetrators (e.g., drug
wholesalers) or consumers (e.g., drug buyers) to draw the suspect into committing the
crime under circumstances where it will be documented. In essence, police officers
create opportunities for suspects to participate in crimes for which suspects will then be
captured and tried.
Proponents of “sting” operations point to several advantages of the technique
over other methods. First, the sting operation may be cheaper than alternatives such as
full time surveillance (which has the additional disadvantage of legal issue regarding
privacy). More importantly, sting operations can serve multiple deterrent functions.
Individuals likely to have committed crimes had the operation not been implemented are
captured before the crime occurs: and authorities may be able to identify other
individuals likely to commit a crime in the near future. Moreover, “

word on the street”
that police traps may be disguised as criminal opportunities can help deter would-be
Encyclopedia of Lying and Deception
Opponents of sting operations claim that the method simply leads to the
manufacturing of crimes, and that many who “offended” through such operations may
never have considered committing crimes in their absence. Perhaps more damning is
the argument that when sting operations prevent the perpetration of the crime, they
arguably become exercises of unjustified punishment for unsuspecting victims.

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