Secrecy Hearing – why “Neither Confirm Nor Deny” should not stand

At a court hearing this month, the police are applying to have the women’s case struck out, asserting that their claimed ‘policy’ of ‘Neither Confirm Nor Deny’ (NCND) means that they cannot comment or respond to the women’s claims – and therefore a trial should not take place because it would be unfair to the police.

It’s incredible that they are attempting to use their own refusal to disclose the truth about their actions to claim they then wouldn’t have a fair trial, and so deny any form of public trial or justice to the women who were abused.

Is there a ‘policy’ of NCND?

The women launched their legal action in December 2011, but it was not until June 2012 that the police first mentioned NCND in relation to the claim. You might think if there had been such a long standing policy this would have been highlighted in the first police response. No doubt the police do take measures to protect the identity of undercover officers and to ensure that operational methods are not widely disclosed, but that is not the same as a policy which prevents them from ever commenting, no matter what the circumstances.

Despite disclosure obligations required as part of the legal process the police have not provided any written document which sets out the purported policy. Such documentary evidence describing the policy, and requiring members of the force to comply with it, would ordinarily be expected given the stated purposes which the ‘policy’ serves.

The past shows no policy in place

In 2002 the Special Demonstration Squad co-operated with and gave their blessing to the TV series ‘True Spies‘ – former undercover officers and their supervisors were interviewed for the programme, and talked about operational undercover tactics.

In 2010, when Mark Kennedy was exposed by campaigners, the police confirmed to the media that he was an undercover officer. In 2011 they confirmed to the media that Jim Boyling was an undercover officer.

In October 2011 Met Police Chief Bernard Hogan-Howe was asked questions in relation to undercover officer Jim Boyling / Sutton at a meeting of the Metropolitan Police Authority. He answered and did not refer to a policy of NCND. Is it really plausible that the Met Chief would not know about or adhere to such a policy if it was in place?

These are just some examples which indicate that ‘Neither Confirm Nor Deny’ is not what the police claim it to be. In order to have the women’s case struck out the police are trying to present NCND as a policy that has no exceptions. They assert they have to adhere to this to protect the safety of officers. There appears to be little concern, however, about protecting members of the public from the actions of undercover officers and their commanders.

No hiding place

“Neither Confirm Nor Deny” should not be used as a shield to prevent any illegal and immoral activities by the police from ever coming to light. Effectively they are attempting to use NCND to evade accountability and avoid any genuine scrutiny of their actions.

The court hearing will begin on Tuesday 18 March 2014 – see here for details of a week of solidarity action. Supporters are asked to gather outside court on the first day of the hearing.


London – Picket outside court – 18th March, 9am (confirmed)


Please share amongst London friends and networks:

Picket outside Royal Courts of Justice, The Strand, London, WC2 (Holborn or Temple tube)

9am – 10am, Tuesday 18th March 2014

This picket will be part of a week of solidarity action being called by the support group of eight women who are taking legal action against the police over undercover relationships.

It coincides with a much-anticipated court hearing – see this page for updates about the hearing itself.

Please pass it on – please share the graphic above on social media or print it off and share.



Week of Solidarity Action – show your support – 17-21 March 2014



Please show your support as legal battle commences

•    Public support has helped the women win one battle: the police withdrew their strike out application
•    But the police are still obstructing justice, and may use “Neither Confirm Nor Deny” to evade a public inquiry
•    Fears persist over ongoing abuses – it’s not just ‘historical’
•    Hearing may still take place on Tuesday 18 March – see this page for updates

As the struggle continues, show the women that they do not stand alone:

WHAT CAN I DO? (see below for details of each action)

  • Picket outside Royal Courts of Justice
  • Gather with your friends in solidarity
  • Support us on social media
  • Sign up to the supporters’ email list
  • Print and share the leaflet
  • Add your name to the ‘Where We Stand‘ solidarity statement
  • If you are a journalist or blogger, write articles about the case and ask to be added to the press list

Picket outside Royal Courts of Justice, The Strand, London, WC2 (Holborn or Temple tube)
9am – 10am, Tuesday 18th March
Please bring placards and banners.

We are asking people to gather with your friends during the week of action, in public or at home, to send messages of support and as an act of resistance. Undercover policing is attack on the trust built within friendship groups. Therefore, by coming together in solidarity with the women challenging these destructive police tactics you can both demonstrate your support and resist within your own networks.
Consider coming together to:

  • Organise a mass letter / email writing to local and national papers – while sharing a meal.
  • Distribute PSOOL leaflets to raise awareness, on a busy high street or other appropriate location.
  • Share and amplify the words of the women using the images that will be on facebook and twitter.
  • Discuss within your groups the possibility of giving official support to the Where We Stand support statement – showing collective resistance against the intimidation of campaigners for social and environmental justice.

Follow and share the resources we are producing on facebook.
and on Twitter: @out_of_lives use #policespiesoutoflives , #spycops and #wherewestand (to reference the solidarity statement we are asking everyone to sign)

You can download and print this leaflet about the case (pdf): CAMPAIGN LEAFLET

Sign up to the email list (in the right column on this website) to recieve updates on news and actions.

Sign up, and ask your friends to sign up, to the ‘Where We Stand‘ solidarity statement.

To ask to be added to the list please email: (removing hashtags which are there to prevent spam)


Police Spies Out Of Lives extends solidarity with everyone affected by the extreme intrusions perpetrated by undercover police officers.

More background info: the women’s experiences and the case itself
For more ways to support the women’s struggle for justice, see our Act Now page


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