Draft terms of reference for Inquiry under the Inquiries Act

These draft terms of reference were submitted to the Home Office on behalf of the eight women who have brought claims against the police arising from the forming of intimate relationships by undercover police officers. They are based on an earlier draft compiled by a number of different groups affected, but have been amended further in the light of their specific experiences.

TERMS OF REFERENCE:

To inquire into, and make recommendations about, the practices, ethics, governance and impact of undercover policing in the UK between 1968 and 2014, and the Human Rights implications of the same, with special reference to the oversight, governance and conduct of undercover officers in the Special Demonstration Squad, the National Public Order Intelligence Unit, the National Extremism Tactical Co-ordination Unit (NETCU) and other political policing units, in particular:

1. The activities of undercover officers and informants in political/social justice campaigns, including:

  1. The forming of intimate and sexual relationships with people in or associated with target campaign groups and the effects of those relationships on those involved and their families and close friends;
  2. The fathering of children as a consequence of forming such relationships and the long term implications for the mother, children and others.
  3. The disproportionate effect on women of the tactics used and the extent to which this reflects individual and/or institutionalised sexism
  4. Issues raised by undercover officers living in the homes of political activists;
  5. The spying on and disruption of Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and other activists involved in political campaigns, including the use of informants;
  6. The potential impact of undercover officers shaping, disrupting or undermining political activity, including acting as agent provocateurs;
  7. The sharing of information between police and private investigators or other companies;
  8. The role of undercover officers in the exchange of information about construction workers and political and Trade Union activists with private companies including the Consulting Association, and the creation of databases about individuals;
  9. The role of UK undercover officers in political protests or meetings abroad;
  10. The use of the identities of dead children by undercover officers.
  11. The ongoing risks to members of the public during and after the deployment ends, arising from;
    i) the psychological damage caused to undercover officers by lengthy periods of deployment and living with dual identities
    ii) the officers influence on and intimate knowledge of those they have been monitoring

 

2.The activities of undercover officers, informants and victim/family liaison officers in relation to:

a) the investigations into the murder of Stephen Lawrence and the attack on Duwayne Brooks and subsequent related inquiries

b) those bereaved at the hands of the police and family support campaigns

c) those challenging the efficacy of police investigations eg. in relation to the deaths or assaults of loved ones

3. Implications for the Justice system of the activities of undercover officers including:

a) failures to disclose evidence about undercover work to prosecution, Courts or parties; disclosure failures in civil cases; failure to disclose to the Macpherson and other Inquiries;

b) undercover officers and informants committing criminal offences or inciting others to do so

c) undercover officers participating in the criminal justice system (as person arrested, defendant or witness) using a false identity;

d) breaches of legal professional privilege by undercover officers, and the improper collection and retention of information about lawyers acting for protestors or campaigners.

e) decision making and role of the Crown Prosecution Service in respect of the activities of undercover officers

 

4. To inquire into the efficacy of systems for supervising, authorising, debriefing and decision-making in relation to undercover policing, including those operated by the MPS, ACPO, the Home Office, and international cooperation between states, and the extent to which governance systems and policies caused, obfuscated or failed to prevent any abuses.

5. To inquire into the extent to which the current legal framework and policies governing authorisation of, oversight of and complaints about undercover police operations has failed, including how the use of “Neither Confirm Nor Deny” prevents scrutiny of abusive and / or potentially unlawful police activity and of accountability relating to the same.

 

6. And to make recommendations regarding:

a) The appropriateness of undercover policing in social justice and political campaign groups

b) The conduct of, oversight of and ethical framework for any future undercover police work to safeguard the rights of individuals and ensure the highest professional and ethical standards and compliance with equalities legislation

c) Changes to the legal and policy framework governing undercover policing, particularly the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act and the operation of the Investigatory Powers Tribunal.

d) Changes to the official status and accountability of international policing networks such as the European Co-operation Group on Undercover Activities.

 

 

 

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