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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Briefing on “Neither confirm or deny” – a police tactic for secrecy

On April 5th, there will be a preliminary hearing for the Undercover Policing Inquiry, where the Metropolitan Police Service argue for further delays to the Inquiry and to reduce its scope. This is simply the latest attempt by the police to prevent information coming to light about their abusive undercover policing tactics. To illuminate this pattern of avoiding accountability and disclosure of any information about their shady practices, today we are publishing a briefing on their tactic of ‘Neither Confirm nor deny.’

To support the fight back against police secrecy, come to the demo on April 5th.

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) state they have a ‘policy’ of ‘Neither Confirm Nor Deny’ (NCND) in relation to undercover officers. This means that when asked whether one of their officers is an undercover, they reply to the effect of “We can neither confirm nor deny that XXXX was an undercover officer”.

NCND is first and foremost a stance adopted by the security and intelligence services whose officials are deployed in intelligence gathering operations. It doesn’t have any legal standing. The police’s use of it is much more recent, and no evidence has been presented of it as a written MPS policy, despite being ordered to present it by a court.

Pitchford has refused to allow a blanket application of NCND in the Inquiry, and instead has insisted on looking individually at each situation where the police are asking for secrecy. He has asked them to apply for restriction orders in each situation, and will test any proclaimed risk of harm against the public interest of revealing what the undercover police have been up to. It is through this process that the police are now seeking secrecy and delays to the Inquiry.

The Inquiry into Undercover Policing has come about through the hard work of the people affected, activists, and a whistle blower. The police have fought at every turn in court, to avoid having to give any information publicly about their secret political policing units. They use NCND, and their applications for restriction orders, as a shield to avoid proper scrutiny of their actions, and to cover up the illegal and immoral activities of political undercover police officers.

Want to stand with the people affected by undercover policing and demand the truth about the activities of these abusive political policing units? Come to the demo, outside the Royal Courts of Justice, 9-10am on the 5th of April.

Find out more you can do to support the fight for truth around undercover policing.

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Demonstration at Undercover Policing Inquiry hearing

Join us to demand disclosure on political policing abuses in the UK

Where? Royal Courts of Justice
When? 9-10am April 5th 2016 – on the first day of the hearing
What? Demonstration- bring banners, & placards
Who? Anyone who cares about our democracy

It is over six years since the undercover policing scandal broke, creating shock that the police could commit such abuses against social, animal, and environmental justice campaigners in our country. Women have been deceived into abusive intimate relationships, miscarriages of justice have been perpetrated, families fighting the police for justice have been spied on, trades union activists have been blacklisted. They, and we, need to know what has happened and why, so that we can repair the damage done to our lives and our democracy.

Public outrage at the scandals around undercover policing led to the Public Inquiry into Undercover Policing. Two years in, it is still in its preliminary stages, beset by police delaying tactics, and applications for secrecy. In the inquiry and the associated court cases, 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. We are no nearer to knowing the extent of the ongoing abuse of our democracy.

“It’s been almost a year, to the day, since we had that apology made in public by the Metropolitan Police and despite them saying they’re sorry, it hasn’t resulted in any  disclosure  of information about what happened to us. I’m sure any victim of abuse will tell  you, that knowing what’s happened, is as important as being, being told  that the people responsible are sorry.  Until we get full  answers about exactly what happened to us (Were we  targeted? How we were  targeted? Were we listened to? What information  was gathered on us?),  I don’t think  we’ll ever be able to  put this behind us”. Lisa speaking in November 2016.

On April 5th & 6th, there is an Inquiry hearing resulting from the latest police delaying and avoidance tactics, applying to delay the Inquiry further, and to restrict the scope of the Inquiry.

We demand that 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 denying disclosure on what has happened.

We demand that the Inquiry release the cover names of the officers now, so that the full extent of the undercover policing scandal can be revealed. We demand the release of the files held on all the core participants affected by undercover policing.

It is public pressure and outrage that brought about this Inquiry. Right now we need to show that it is still high on our agenda to prevent the police hiding the truth any further. All people involved with campaigning for progressive change in our society have been, and are at risk of infiltration and abuse at the hands of these shady political policing units.

It is people like you, taking a stand for your right to campaign for positive change without being abused by the state, that will change history, making sure these abuses come to light and are prevented from ever happening again. Without public support, the police may get away with hiding what has happened, and be able to continue their abuses.

What can you do?
· Come along to the demonstration and stand with the core participants to support their demands.
· Attend the hearing, and hear first-hand what is going on.
· Can’t make it on the day?
– Support us by talking about it on social media. Share the face book event
– Take a solidarity selfie (see below)

Solidarity selfie?
WHEN between NOW and the secrecy hearing on April 5th & 6th
WHERE anywhere, or go somewhere prominent in your local area – your town hall, local landmark, village sign, train station
WHAT hold up a sign or a banner demanding the #spycops Inquiry releases the names and opens the files, and take a photo. If you’ve got a landmark in, it’s #Yourtown demands #spycops Inquiry releases the names & opens the files!
SHARE on social media – use #spycops

Do it as soon as you think of it, go with your mates, go with your group after your latest meeting, go with your kids or your gran. No gesture too small.

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Inquiry Progress Report 2 published

We are pleased to publish our second progress report on the Undercover Policing Inquiry.

At the moment, the Inquiry is in its preliminary phase, and the participants are experiencing the Inquiry as extensive legal arguments between their lawyers and the Inquiry team, conducted mostly via email.  Hearings and the taking of evidence are delayed and yet to start.

We hope that our briefings can help Inquiry core participants, press, and public alike, make sense of what is going on in this crucial inquiry.

This Progress Report contains sections on:

  • The confirmation of officers,
  • New core participants,
  • Protocols,
  • Witness evidence process, costs,
  • The release of cover names, groups, and individual’s files

If you find this report helpful, please look back over the other briefings and reports we have written on the Undercover Policing Inquiry.

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Women’s statement: Full investigation needed on undercover policing in Scotland

openthefilesFour women deceived into relationships with undercover officers have made a joint statement criticising the new HMICS review into undercover policing, and demanding a full Public Inquiry into the undercover policing in Scotland.

Full Statement from the four women:

“One of the major concerns we have about the scope of the Inquiry into Undercover Policing is that the terms of reference are currently limited it to operations conducted by the police forces of England and Wales. It is very concerning that the activities of the Metropolitan  police’s spies whilst in other countries are excluded.

 As women who had relationships with undercover officers, we spent time abroad with these men, whom we believed to be a  friend and close partner.

 We know that Mark Kennedy’s major operations involved G8 summits in Scotland and  Germany, and it would make a mockery of the inquiry if these events were to be left out of its scope. Mark Kennedy spent further time with his partners, “Lisa” and Kate, attending protests and meetings in Ireland, Spain, France, Denmark, Iceland and Italy, he also spent time every year of his deployment on holiday with “Lisa” and friends in Scotland. Carlo Neri spent time with his partner, “Andrea”, in Scotland and Italy. Mark Jenner spent time with his partner, “Alison” in Ireland, and Scotland.

 On all of those visits abroad, the men were being paid by the Police, using the characters created within the undercover units,  working with activists from the UK in these countries, continuing their deceitful relationships with us wherever they went.  Therefore it would allow police to cover up whole chapters of outrageous behaviour if the investigations into their conduct did not include their activities in these countries. 

 The review into Undercover Policing set up by HMICS in Scotland is an insult to those of us who were spied on there. It is the Police investigating the police, with the people affected by undercover policing being given no voice. Our experience  would lead us to expect a cover up. HMICS is staffed with ex-police, some of whom will return to policing with the force they are examining, and some of whom actually have links to undercover policing in Scotland. It is also limited to events from 2000. Those of us who were spied on in Scotland before that date will not even be included.

 We call for a full Public Inquiry to get to the truth of what happened in Scotland, and in all the countries these undercover officers operated in. We call for everyone who was spied on to be given access to the police files held on them in all of these countries. These units were political policing units, akin to the Stasi of East Germany. They must be closed, and held accountable for their actions.”

Signed: ‘Andrea’, ‘Alison’, ‘Lisa’ and Kate Wilson

 

— end of statement —

Key Background information

1.The women who made this statement have all been affected by undercover police. It is the first time they have come together to make a statement. ‘Alison‘ had a long term relationship with Mark Jenner, ‘Lisa‘, and Kate Wilson had a long term relationships with Mark Kennedy, and ‘Andrea‘ had a long term relationship with Carlo Neri. ‘Alison’, ‘Lisa’ and ‘Andrea’ are pseudonym as they have anonymity upheld by the courts.

2. Three of these women have recently written a letter to Scottish Secretary for Justice Michael Matheson, along with eleven other core participants in the Undercover Policing Inquiry, requesting to meet in light of release of terms of reference for the HMICS review of undercover policing in Scotland.

3. The  HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland (HMICS) review into under cover policing, commissioned by Justice Micheal Matheson has recently issued its terms of reference.

4. ‘Alison’ and ‘Andrea’ have been in the Scottish Press recently attacking the lack of proper investigation into undercover officers operating in Scotland. Alison gave an interview to Scotsman and Andrea gave a interview to the Scottish Sunday Herald.

5. These women have 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 are both common law claims, including deceit, assault, misfeasance in public office and negligence, and human rights claims.

6. As part of an out-of-court settlement, the Met police issued a comprehensive apology to two of these women (Alison & Lisa) in November 2015. A public inquiry has also been launched.

7. 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.

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