Inquiry progress briefing #5

We are pleased to today publish our progress briefing number 5, summarising progress in the Undercover Policing Inquiry. This version is for public consumption – if you are a core participant in the Inquiry, you can get a more detailed version from your solicitor.

This Inquiry Progress Briefing number 5 includes a summary of progress so far (principles and protocols, anonymity applications, and evidence gathering), the outstanding issues (Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, Disclosure of personal files, Witness evidence protocol, Disclosure of cover names and individuals files) as well as sections on the Inquiry Strategic Review and appointment of Mitting.

For the back ground to the inquiry go here, and for previous briefings, go here.

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Undercover Policing Inquiry: Latest progress briefing

Want to understand what has happened recently in the preliminary stages of the Undercover Policing Inquiry?

Read our latest Progress Briefing available for download here.

It covers the period mid March to mid May 2017 and includes:

  • 5/6th April Hearing
  • Disclosure of personal files
  • Protocols
    • Draft disclosure protocol
    • Restriction protocol
  • Rehabilitation of Offenders Act submissions

For those people that are core participants in the Inquiry, a slightly different version will be available via your lawyers, that contains information that is private between you and your lawyers.

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Press release: Women write to Irish Government:

Full investigation needed on undercover policing in Ireland

Mark kennedy in Ireland

Today, four women deceived into relationships with undercover police in the UK [1,2] have written to the Irish Prime minister, Minister for Justice and Equality, and Minister for Foreign Affairs & Trade.

Their letters [3] ask why they were targeted in Ireland for abusive relationships by UK undercover officers, and demand a full Inquiry into the activity of UK undercover officers in Ireland.

These letters are in response to the secret “report” prepared by the An Garda Síochána in 2011 [4] attempting to justify the activities of undercover police officers from the UK in Ireland.

They highlight the fact that the relationships they had with these officers, which took place in part on Irish soil, have been admitted to be human rights violations [5]. This means the report’s claims that police activities in Ireland were limited to tracking “external activists with a track record for violence” are false.

These officers activities in the Republic of Ireland will not be investigated as part of the Pitchford Inquiry into Undercover Policing [6], and so  far, the response of  the Justice Minister and Garda has been to conduct secret, internal reviews into these revelations and to deny their grave  importance [7]. The women are demanding a full and public investigation into the activities of these officers, detailing any offenses they committed in Ireland. They also specifically ask:

  • Who authorised these undercover operations in Ireland?
  • Do Irish police hold files on us, and when will we be given access to those files?
  • How does the Irish state justify foreign police officers having deceptive intimate relationships with women, in violation of our human rights and bodily integrity?
  • How many more UK police officers operated in Ireland and how many more women were abused by the police on Irish soil?

Kate Wilson travelled to Dublin with her partner, Mark “Stone” (Kennedy) in May 2004 said “The MPS apologised for the violation of my human rights in the UK, but those rights were also violated in Ireland. Someone authorised Mark to take me to Ireland with him, and engage in an abusive sexual relationship on Irish soil. We are asking for answers, and the Irish government is responding with denials and secret reports. That should be of great concern to anyone who wants to believe in accountability and human rights in Ireland”

Mark Kennedy also met up with “Lisa” as she travelled back from protests in Rossport against the Corrib gas pipeline. Lisa was deceived by the police into an abusive relationship with him that lasted six years before she exposed his real identity in 2010. She said “The UK undercover officers crossed borders regularly, and seemingly without oversight. Their operations extended far outside the remit of the current investigations. Was he authorised to continue our relationship in Ireland? Was he being paid? Did the Irish authorities know?”

“Alison” was in a five year relationship with Jenner who she knew as Mark Cassidy. She said “When it was suggested that the Colin Roach Centre send a delegation to the West Belfast Festival in the Summer of 1995, Jenner was keen to offer his van to drive people there. The journey included a stop-over in the Republic of Ireland. Were the authorities there informed that a Special Branch agent was operating in their territory? And if not, why not?”

Key background links

1] The women who made this statement have all been affected by undercover police. ‘Alison‘ had a long term relationship with Mark Jenner,  ‘Lisa‘,  and Kate Wilson  (previously under the pseudonym of “Lily”) had long term relationships with Mark Kennedy,  and Helen  Steel (previously under the pseudonym of “Clare”) had a long term  relationship with John Dines. ‘Alison’, & ‘Lisa’ are pseudonyms as they have anonymity upheld by the courts.    https://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmselect/cmhaff/837/130205i.htm

2]   These women all made legal claims against  the Metropolitan  Police arising from their deception into long-term  intimate   relationships with police officers who had infiltrated social  and   environmental justice campaigns. These were both human rights claims and common law claims, including deceit, assault, misfeasance in public office and negligence.

3] https://policespiesoutoflives.org.uk/spycops-abroad/irish-inquiry-letter

4] https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/ministers-kept-in-the-dark-over-british-spy-6kp5shhgt?shareToken=2bfee46b3a0b361d78248ce189fd8e36

5] As part of an out-of-court settlement, the Met police issued a comprehensive apology [http://news.met.police.uk/videos/mps-apology-long-term-sexual-relationships-21074} to three of these women (Alison, Helen & Lisa) in November 2015. http://news.met.police.uk/news/claimants-in-civil-cases-receive-mps-apology-138574. The same apology was extended to the fourth woman (Kate) in March 2017.

6] A public inquiry has also been launched covering only England & Wales .https://www.ucpi.org.uk/

7] http://www.parliamentary-questions.com/question/7624-17/

8] These women aim to highlight and prevent the continuation of psychological, emotional and sexual abuse of campaigners and others by undercover police officers. ‘We come from different backgrounds and have a range of political beliefs and interests, and we are united in believing that every woman, and   every person, has a right to participate in the struggle for social and   environmental justice, without fear of persecution, objectification,  or  interference in their lives.’ – from ‘Where we stand’ Statement.

— end of background information —

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Spying victims demand truth NOW Stop the Police cover up

Press release sent on behalf of the UCPI non-state, non-police core participants communications group

Royal Courts of Justice 5th April 2017 – picket 9-10am (photo opportunities)

On 5th/6th April at a High Court hearing of the Public Inquiry into Undercover Policing, the Metropolitan Police will be seeking to continue their cover up of human rights abuses committed by political undercover policing units. The Inquiry started in 2015 but due to police delaying tactics has yet to reveal anything at all about political police spying in the UK.

Those who were spied on will be at the hearing to demand truth and justice.  They will address the Inquiry hearing to call for:

•    the immediate release of the cover names used by political undercover police officers
•    the names of the groups spied on
•    the personal files held on those spied on
•    fair representation at the Inquiry – at present around 200 victims are forced to share one legal team in court, while the police & state are represented by 5 separate legal teams

Core participants of the Inquiry sent written submissions to the Inquiry last week which explain their call, mandated by a meeting of 40 non-state, non- police core participants (NSPCPs).  This follows a letter sent a year ago signed by 133 NSPCPs seeking the same information.

Kate Wilson, who was deceived into an intimate relationship with undercover officer Mark Kennedy, and is one of the signatories of the letter, said;

“The Inquiry is investigating serious human rights abuses, miscarriages of justice and criminal offences committed by police. Yet much of the control over the evidence and proceedings has been left in the very hands of those being investigated. The police clearly have no sense of urgency about the Inquiry, in fact they have sought to prevent the victims of their abuses from finding out the truth. This creates a very real risk of compounding the harm and distress of those of us who suffered at their hands and who so urgently need to find truth.”

In 2010 revelations first started to surface about British undercover police officers infiltrating environmental and social justice campaigns.  By 2014 the scale & nature of the revelations had become so shocking that then Home Secretary Theresa May announced a Public Inquiry into Undercover Policing.

The revelations included that undercover police officers had:
– engaged in intimate sexual relationships with women while undercover
– even fathered children with women spied on,
– spied on the grieving family & friends of Stephen Lawrence and other victims of racist attacks & police malpractice
– colluded with private companies, including passing personal information to private companies & aiding the illegal blacklisting of trade union members and political activists,
– been involved in serious miscarriages of justice
– taken the identities of dead children

All the information of the abusive activities of these undercover policing units have so far been revealed by activists themselves, or by whistle blowers and journalists. The police have consistently acted to prevent the release of information and to cover up their responsibility for extensive human rights abuses.

Those spied upon seek truth and justice.

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This week: Demonstration outside Undercover Policing Inquiry

Hearing of the Undercover Policing Inquiry

Where? Royal Courts of Justice
When? April 5th-6th 2017

This is a crucial hearing [1] in the preliminary stages of the public inquiry into the scandals surrounding undercover policing. It results from the latest police delaying and avoidance tactics: they have applied to delay the Inquiry  further, and to restrict the scope of the  Inquiry [2]

Lord Pitchford has decided this hearing should also be an opportunity for the non-state, non-police core participants (those affected by undercover  policing) to comment on the progress of the Inquiry [3]. They will use it as an opportunity to demand prompt release of the cover names of undercover officers, and the disclosure of personal files held by police on them, as well as fairer representation in the Inquiry [4].

It is expected that the hearing will be attended by many people affected by undercover policing, including women who were deceived into intimate relationships with undercover police.

Demonstration outside the hearing

Where? Royal Courts of Justice
When? 9-10am Wednesday April 5th

It is over six years since the undercover policing scandal [5] broke, creating shock that the police could commit such  abuses against campaigners in our country. Two years into the Inquiry and 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. The public is no nearer to knowing the extent of the abuse of our democracy.

Non-state, non-police core participants in the Inquiry and their supporters will be demonstrating before the court hearing. They are demanding:

  • 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 preventing disclosure about what has happened.
  • the Inquiry release the cover names of the officers now, so that the full extent of the undercover policing scandal can be revealed.
  • the release of the files held on all the core participants affected by undercover policing.

“Since settling our legal cases offering nothing to us in the way of disclosure, the Police have still not revealed anything not already in the public domain. All the information we have about these units is what we have discovered for ourselves. The police continue to do everything in their power to avoid giving us the answers the public deserve. This Inquiry, if it is to get anywhere, must stop allowing the police to  delay  and divert, and insist on open transparent investigation of the   officers involved, their supervisors and the policies of surveillance   behind decades of political policing.” ‘Lisa’, deceived into a six year relationship with undercover officer Mark Kennedy [6]

 

Key background information

1] https://www.ucpi.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/20170215-directions-extension-of-time-composite.pdf  These preliminary hearings are crucial as they shape the course of the Inquiry.

2] A hearing is taking place following requests from the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) for:
a.   an extension of time for anonymity, via restriction order applications on behalf of police officers formerly employed by the Special Demonstration Squad; and
b. a change in the Inquiry’s approach to those restriction order applications, which would reduce its scope: they are requesting that only a limited number of SDS officers be required to give evidence to the Inquiry.
For more information see our progress briefing: https://policespiesoutoflives.org.uk/uploads/2016/05/UCPI-update-FebMarch-public.pdf

3] https://www.ucpi.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/20170302-Counsels-Note-for-hearing-on-5-April-2017.pdf

4] https://www.ucpi.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/20170323-submissions-for-hearing-on-20170405-NPNSCPs.pdf

5] The scandal has included women being deceived into abusive intimate  relationships [https://policespiesoutoflives.org.uk/our-stories/], miscarriages of justice being perpetrated [http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-25829169],  families fighting the police for justice have being spied on [https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/jul/15/doreen-lawrence-name-undercover-police-spied-family], and  trades union activists being blacklisted [https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/undercover-with-paul-lewis-and-rob-evans/2015/may/28/blacklisted-workers-seek-to-prise-open-secrets-of-covert-police-surveillance].

6] Lisa is one of the seven women to whom the Met issued a comprehensive apology (https://policespiesoutoflives.org.uk/new-met-apology/). Lisa’s story can be found here: https://policespiesoutoflives.org.uk/our-stories/lisas-story/

7] Legal briefings on the progress of the Inquiry are available here: https://policespiesoutoflives.org.uk/pitchfordinquiry/inquiry-briefings/

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