Today we heard that there’s to be a public inquiry into undercover policing, following an official report into the targeting of the family of Stephen Lawrence (referred to in the media as the Ellison report). Those involved with this case will be looking at the report and the announcement closely to see whether the outrageous abuse of women’s lives will be properly addressed by the proposed public inquiry.
The women who suffered abuse of their lives by undercover units are facing aggressive legal tactics from the police. At a court hearing on March 18 they will be defending their legal action against strike-out applications from the police – the same police force that in the House of Commons today was described as “corrupt”.
The women have been calling for a “the past to be thoroughly and openly investigated” – see their statement Where We Stand, which we are asking all supporters to sign. They are also part of a coalition of groups who have been calling for a public inquiry.
Harriet Wistrich, solicitor for the 8 women bringing legal action over undercover relationships said:
“We cautiously welcome the announcement that there will be a public inquiry, but we call on the Home Secretary to ensure its scope is sufficiently broad to explore the full extent of misconduct by the Special Demonstration Squad. In particular, an inquiry must examine the conduct of undercover policing in relation to officers initiating and developing intimate relationships with women they were spying on.”
The Guardian – feed of today’s news as it broke
The Ellison Report is here.
May’s speech to the Commons is here.