prosecutors would decide whether operatives who had sexual relationships were breaking the law.
(source: Daily Mail Tuesday, Jun 25 2013)Back to the police. I'm going to assume most of the personnel involved are men although there might well have been female under-cover(s) operators. It is alleged that some of them engaged in sexual intimacy under false identities and for purposes other than those they claimed at the time.
The gender misrepresentation cases put down one marker for what will be regarded as making consent defective because it has been obtained falsely. Another is already unambiguously covered in legislation. If the complainant had a mental disorder impairing choice such that they can be brought within the definition of s.34 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, then the person who deceived them can be prosecuted.
A further restriction was defined in 2007 when Giovanni Mola was unable to argue he had consent in order to avoid a conviction based on reckless conduct (Scottish case). He failed to inform a lover that he had HIV, thus impairing her ability to make an informed decision whether to have sex with him. A summary of other cases is here
Prosecution of cases around transmission of HIV have abated as a matter of public policy; the emphasis has gone on to prevention as it was feared that the prosecutions were deterring people from seeking treatment. The policy remains controversial. Opinion is split on whether agreeing to sex means agreeing to factors unknown, or whether it is a conditional consent depending on what is disclosed at the time.
Consenting to sex does not mean consenting to everything even in the ordinary course of events. There is a point at which an act may become abusive and outside the scope of consent. Normally this is thought of in physical terms but it could be psychological. But for ignorance that the person was married/had a disease/was a paid infiltrator, the complainant might not have agreed to sexual intimacy.
It is argued that deception is justified in order to infiltrate organisations "such as environmental groups". Fat lot of good that did. Mark Kennedy should have been putting it about in the Climate Unit of UEA, or at least offering Chris Huhne a ride. He has failed to prevent the country being peppered with taxpayer-subsidised bird-mincers.
As David Morris of the McLibel trial said when it emerged the co-writer of the leaflet which caused all the trouble was Bob Lambert, an undercover policeman,
"All over the world police and secret agents infiltrate opposition movements in order to protect the rich and powerful...."Look how well that went. McDonald's ended up paying lawyers millions of pounds, only half-winning a technical case and smashing their reputation. Whether they asked for the Metropolitan police to act as political agent provocateurs has yet to be examined.