For those of us who have been caught up in the ‘spycops’ scandal – referred to as “core participants” in the public inquiry into undercover policing – this week’s hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice comprised little more than hours of legalese and Kafkaeseque arguments based on redacted documents and closed sessions.
22nd November 2017
I’ve been researching undercover policing ever since the boyfriend I knew as Mark Cassidy left me in spring 2000. Like the other female activists bringing cases of undercover police abuse to light, I have become skilled in scouring documents, interrogating and interpreting evidence. Continue reading “Just another cover-up?”
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.
It covers the period mid March to mid May 2017 and includes:
- 5/6th April Hearing
- Disclosure of personal files
- 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.
Full investigation needed on undercover policing 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  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  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 . 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 , 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 . 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.
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/
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 —