The Case: The Command Structures

This legal action is being brought against two organisations: the Metropolitan Police Service and the Association of Chief Police Officers (commonly known as ACPO).

The Metropolitan Police – the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) and the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU)

The undercover officers with whom the claimants had relationships were employed by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS). It is believed that of the five officers, four them were working within the MPS’s Special Demonstration Squad (SDS). The SDS provides no public information about its activities but according to various reports was formed following the 1968 anti-Vietnam war protests in Grosvenor Square to infiltrate political movements and monitor protest activity.

The National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU) was also part of the Metropolitan Police Service. It was created in 1999 and worked on themes similar to the SDS.

Officers for both units were used to gather intelligence rather than evidence. According to Her Majesty’s Inspector of the Constabulary (HMIC), a small number of staff and managers had worked for both the SDS and the NPOIU. The work that they undertook included training, providing guidance, recruiting staff and authorising undercover operations.

The SDS was closed down in 2008.

In 2006 control of the NPOIU was transferred to the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) – see below.  In January 2011, in the wake of the revelations concerning undercover officers, it was transferred back to the control of the Metropolitan Police Service, where it remains.

Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU)

Originally established within the Metropolitan Police Service in 1999, the NPOIU was transferred to the control of ACPO in 2006. One of the five officers was in active deployment during this period. Other unmasked officers were also in active deployment during the ACPO years.

ACPO is a private company limited by guarantee, not a public organisation, and has caused concern as to its accountability and conduct.

Inconsistent Statements on the Policy

In February 2013, the solicitors for this case, Birnberg Peirce and partners, compiled the following document:
Inconsistent Statements on the Policy in Respect of Sexual Conduct by Undercover Officers
The document was submitted to the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee as part of their inquiry into undercover policing. [link to http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmselect/cmhaff/837/83702.htm ]
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