Documents were released today outlining key concerns over the “Neither Confirm Nor Deny” (NCND) practice currently used by police investigating undercover policing. The documents were released following the issue of a press release by the women who are suing the Metropolitan Police, saying that they would not be cooperating with the police investigation.
Operation Herne, the police review into the deployment of undercover officers, takes the line of neither confirming nor denying that the individual men concerned were in fact undercover officers. The practice of NCND is critiqued in letters from the solicitor representing the women in this case, Harriet Wistrich, to Chief Constable Mick Creedon, the lead officer in Operation Herne.
Here are key points from the letters:
“The application of the NCND policy by the police has led to the offensive scenario that those investigating the police have requested that our clients…….provide detailed statements and evidence documenting their relationships, whilst being denied even confirmation that the officers about whom they complain were undercover police operatives.”
“If you cannot confirm or deny that a named individual was an undercover officer, how can you begin to publicly provide any comment, following your investigation, on the alleged officer’s activities?”
“….Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe was widely quoted in the media as urging ‘the ex-undercover officer who claims smear tactics were used on the family of murdered Stephen Lawrence to get in touch’. It therefore seems utterly ludicrous and inconsistent for the police to claim that you cannot confirm the officers who have already confessed to their previous activities.”
“The adoption of NCND is a tactic to avoid any public acknowledgement or scrutiny of gross human rights abuses carried out by these officers.”
“We consider that any investigation or inquiry must be independent and transparent, unfettered by any policy of NCND and free of the taint of the police investigating the police.”