Briefing on “Neither confirm or deny” – a police tactic for secrecy

On April 5th, there will be a preliminary hearing for the Undercover Policing Inquiry, where the Metropolitan Police Service argue for further delays to the Inquiry and to reduce its scope. This is simply the latest attempt by the police to prevent information coming to light about their abusive undercover policing tactics. To illuminate this pattern of avoiding accountability and disclosure of any information about their shady practices, today we are publishing a briefing on their tactic of ‘Neither Confirm nor deny.’

To support the fight back against police secrecy, come to the demo on April 5th.

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) state they have a ‘policy’ of ‘Neither Confirm Nor Deny’ (NCND) in relation to undercover officers. This means that when asked whether one of their officers is an undercover, they reply to the effect of “We can neither confirm nor deny that XXXX was an undercover officer”.

NCND is first and foremost a stance adopted by the security and intelligence services whose officials are deployed in intelligence gathering operations. It doesn’t have any legal standing. The police’s use of it is much more recent, and no evidence has been presented of it as a written MPS policy, despite being ordered to present it by a court.

Pitchford has refused to allow a blanket application of NCND in the Inquiry, and instead has insisted on looking individually at each situation where the police are asking for secrecy. He has asked them to apply for restriction orders in each situation, and will test any proclaimed risk of harm against the public interest of revealing what the undercover police have been up to. It is through this process that the police are now seeking secrecy and delays to the Inquiry.

The Inquiry into Undercover Policing has come about through the hard work of the people affected, activists, and a whistle blower. The police have fought at every turn in court, to avoid having to give any information publicly about their secret political policing units. They use NCND, and their applications for restriction orders, as a shield to avoid proper scrutiny of their actions, and to cover up the illegal and immoral activities of political undercover police officers.

Want to stand with the people affected by undercover policing and demand the truth about the activities of these abusive political policing units? Come to the demo, outside the Royal Courts of Justice, 9-10am on the 5th of April.

Find out more you can do to support the fight for truth around undercover policing.

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New Inquiry progress briefing published today

On April 5th, the Undercover Policing Inquiry is due to hold a preliminary hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice.

This hearing is to deal with issues brought up by the Metropolitan Police in an attempt to delay and deny our efforts to get to the truth.

The Inquiry has made much slower progress than originally envisaged (a three year Inquiry, ending in July 2018), largely as a result of police applications for as much secrecy as possible. The Inquiry team have now stated that evidence hearings probably won’t take place until at least 2019.

Although progress is still excruciatingly slow, it does appear that the Inquiry is finally adopting a more robust attitude towards the police’s delaying tactics.

This hearing is also an opportunity for Core Participants to make submissions of their own, and for those affected by undercover policing to have their voices heard.

It’s vital that the (“non-State, non-police”) Core Participants in this Inquiry are able to understand the legal issues, and the way the Inquiry will operate, in order to take part.

It’s also important that the wider public, and press, have access to information, so they can continue to support us through what may become a very long process.

To this end, we are pleased to publish our third Progress Briefing on the Undercover Policing Inquiry.

This edition covers:

  • the Inquiry’s approach
  • the 5th April hearing: what the Met are demanding
  • the struggle for disclosure: of cover names & groups spied on
  • the document shredding scandal
  • the long-awaited Secure Database
  • Pitchford’s retirement from the Inquiry
  • issues relating to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act
  • the planned Witness Process

If you find this helpful, please have a look at the other Progress briefings and reports we have written on the Undercover Policing Inquiry.

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Demonstration at Undercover Policing Inquiry hearing

Join us to demand disclosure on political policing abuses in the UK

Where? Royal Courts of Justice
When? 9-10am April 5th 2016 – on the first day of the hearing
What? Demonstration- bring banners, & placards
Who? Anyone who cares about our democracy

It is over six years since the undercover policing scandal broke, creating shock that the police could commit such abuses against social, animal, and environmental justice campaigners in our country. Women have been deceived into abusive intimate relationships, miscarriages of justice have been perpetrated, families fighting the police for justice have been spied on, trades union activists have been blacklisted. They, and we, need to know what has happened and why, so that we can repair the damage done to our lives and our democracy.

Public outrage at the scandals around undercover policing led to the Public Inquiry into Undercover Policing. Two years in, it is still in its preliminary stages, beset by police delaying tactics, and applications for secrecy. In the inquiry and the associated court cases, the police have so far avoided giving any information about their abusive activities. People who have had their lives turned upside down by infiltration are no nearer to knowing the truth. We are no nearer to knowing the extent of the ongoing abuse of our democracy.

“It’s been almost a year, to the day, since we had that apology made in public by the Metropolitan Police and despite them saying they’re sorry, it hasn’t resulted in any  disclosure  of information about what happened to us. I’m sure any victim of abuse will tell  you, that knowing what’s happened, is as important as being, being told  that the people responsible are sorry.  Until we get full  answers about exactly what happened to us (Were we  targeted? How we were  targeted? Were we listened to? What information  was gathered on us?),  I don’t think  we’ll ever be able to  put this behind us”. Lisa speaking in November 2016.

On April 5th & 6th, there is an Inquiry hearing resulting from the latest police delaying and avoidance tactics, applying to delay the Inquiry further, and to restrict the scope of the Inquiry.

We demand that the Inquiry starts to serve the people  who have been affected by undercover policing, and does not allow the abusers to get away with delaying and denying disclosure on what has happened.

We demand that the Inquiry release the cover names of the officers now, so that the full extent of the undercover policing scandal can be revealed. We demand the release of the files held on all the core participants affected by undercover policing.

It is public pressure and outrage that brought about this Inquiry. Right now we need to show that it is still high on our agenda to prevent the police hiding the truth any further. All people involved with campaigning for progressive change in our society have been, and are at risk of infiltration and abuse at the hands of these shady political policing units.

It is people like you, taking a stand for your right to campaign for positive change without being abused by the state, that will change history, making sure these abuses come to light and are prevented from ever happening again. Without public support, the police may get away with hiding what has happened, and be able to continue their abuses.

What can you do?
· Come along to the demonstration and stand with the core participants to support their demands.
· Attend the hearing, and hear first-hand what is going on.
· Can’t make it on the day?
– Support us by talking about it on social media. Share the face book event
– Take a solidarity selfie (see below)

Solidarity selfie?
WHEN between NOW and the secrecy hearing on April 5th & 6th
WHERE anywhere, or go somewhere prominent in your local area – your town hall, local landmark, village sign, train station
WHAT hold up a sign or a banner demanding the #spycops Inquiry releases the names and opens the files, and take a photo. If you’ve got a landmark in, it’s #Yourtown demands #spycops Inquiry releases the names & opens the files!
SHARE on social media – use #spycops

Do it as soon as you think of it, go with your mates, go with your group after your latest meeting, go with your kids or your gran. No gesture too small.

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