The Public Inquiry into Undercover Policing was announced in 2014. The police wrong doing, uncovered by women activists, is central to the Inquiry’s remit. The Inquiry – initially due to be completed by 2018 – started to hear evidence in November 2020. It is unlikely to report findings until 2027.
On 24th November 2020, BBC Radio 4 The World Tonight covered the story of our work to make the first tranche of Inquiry hearings more accessible. By bringing in actors such as Maxine Peake, Siobhan McSweeney and Barnaby Taylor to read the Ceefax style transcript live via our YouTube channel, we succeeded in drawing the public’s attention to the farcical nature of proceedings so far.
You can listen to the BBC item here.
The Campaign for Police Surveillance (COPS) produced excellent summaries of each day’s evidential hearings. You can read these here.
This inquiry needs to be a robust, transparent investigation into what has happened in British political policing over the last 50 years.
We were initially pleased that the public inquiry originally known as the Pitchford Inquiry was established to investigate undercover policing in England and Wales. It is proceeding, however, at a staggering slow pace, and the presiding judge, Sir John Mitting, is making decisions that arguably benefit the police more than their victims.
We want a panel of advisors to support Mitting with information and guidance on matters of race, class and sex. Core Participants believe he has no experience in these areas and our request has been repeatedly refused.
The remit of the inquiry also does not go far enough. It is limited only to England and Wales despite many of the spycops travelling and infiltrating actions and movements both in Scotland, Ireland and elsewhere.
We are working with other Core Participants to try to ensure the Inquiry is worth our while. The more public pressure felt by those under scrutiny, the more likely it is that we will achieve some justice. If those trying to get away with hiding their wrong doing believe no-one is watching and nobody cares, they are more likely to perpetuate these human rights violations again.
This is a public inquiry so the public should be told what’s going on.
Please get involved and spread the word.
WHAT ABOUT SPYCOPS ABROAD?
English undercover police have spent extensive parts of their deployments taking part in political action outside England and Wales. After German courts confirmed in October 2022 that spycop Mark Kennedy operated unlawfully in spying on environmental campaigners during his deployment there – it is more important than ever that the deployment of spycops abroad be investigated. In 2023, there have been revelations about similar tactics used by Spanish police against activists. Police Spies Out Of Lives sends solidarity to all those affected.
WHAT ABOUT LINKS WITH CORPORATE SPYING?
There seems to a revolving door between undercover police units and private security firms. It is precisely because corporations are not part of the police that their role in undercover operations is so concerning, yet this is not currently part of any investigation. The activities of these firms, and their connections to undercover police must be fully and openly examined.
“(A) concern is the way in which officers are pulled out of their undercover roles and yet still able to use the characters created for them after they leave the police. The character of Mark Stone was set up using all the resources, training and back up of the Metropolitan Police and then, it is alleged, went on to be used for corporate profit. Mark Kennedy claimed to the Home Affairs Select Committee in February 2013 that he had been working for the company Global Open at the time that he was still part of our lives. What looks to us like a revolving door between the police and private companies needs to stop, and the inquiry must not ignore it. “ Kate Wilson & Lisa