The second tranche of hearings in the Undercover Policing Inquiry is finally underway, starting on Monday 1st July 2024, with Opening Statements delivered live online.

The last hearings ended more than a year ago, with closing statements for Tranche 1 Phase 3 delivered in February 2023. At that time, non-State, non-police Core Participants (NSPCPs) delivered powerful submissions about the legal framework the Chair should be applying when considering whether these operations were justified or indeed justifiable.

That was followed in June 2023 by the Chair’s blistering Interim Report, which concluded the SDS should have been ‘brought to a rapid end’ in the 1970s, criticising officers unlawfully trespassing into people’s homes, forming deceitful close personal relationships, including sexual relationships, stealing deceased children’s identities, and taking positions of influence and power within the organisations they targeted.



It was an interesting week and it was clear from the tone of many of the statements that the ground has shifted since the publication Inquiry’s interim report. Perhaps the most significant development in that sense was the contrite statement from the Commissioner for the Metropolitan Police, which made a number of highly significant admissions and apologised for cultures of racism, misogyny, exceptionalism, impunity and for unnecessary political spying by MPS employees. He even accepted corporate responsibility for some of the failings. The Inquiry remains focused on whether there might have been justification for the operations, however they no longer appear to have such confidence that there could.

It is clear from the Opening Statements that a key issue for this Tranche will be the ideological motivations behind the activities of the undercover police. In the Foreword to his Interim Report the Chair stated that he had “refrained from expressing any view about … the proposition that the SDS was one of the instruments set up by a conservative state to suppress the aspirations of those who wished to produce radical change by political means.”

Political policing is anti-democratic, and evidence in this Tranche of the establishment targeting groups for ideological (rather than policing) purposes, spying on elected politicians, spreading political misinformation to the Press and using SDS reporting in Conservative Party electioneering really drives that point home. For clarity, protest is part of a healthy democracy, secret policing is not and however reluctant he is to go there, Mitting is going to find this issue hard to avoid.

Another theme emerging from the statements of the non-State core participants is that the process is becoming increasingly unworkable. Statements cited delayed and incomplete disclosure and impossible deadlines. There is a growing sense that the Inquiry is facing a crisis, caused by the imposition of arbitrary deadlines by the Home Office, since the publication of the Chair’s damning Interim Report. In the words of James Scobie KC,

“The State core participants have had the benefit of time and considerable resources. They have had access to the material for years and have extensive teams of staff and lawyers. The Police witnesses are retired, on generous tax-payer funded pensions. Most of our core-participants are still working full-time. This imbalance has always existed in this Inquiry. However, the approach to Tranche 2 is strongly suggestive of a deliberate attempt to silence the non-state core participants.”

This is particularly worrying because the Home Office are very much under investigation in this Inquiry and the evidence leaves little room for doubt as to their complicity in the abuses of the SDS in this Tranche. It is therefore shocking that they should be able to sabotage the process in this way. Citing this week’s General Election, the Home Office declined to make an Opening Statement, however the incoming Home Secretary will need to address these problems as a matter of urgency to avoid the integrity of the Inquiry being called into question.

For his own part, Mitting responded to the procedural criticisms with a personal plea:

“Given that it is a human activity, the end result can never be perfect and the means by which it is arrived at can never be perfect. All I can ask is for patience. Please bear with me. I acknowledge the worth of the input of non-state core participants. I ask them for patience in allowing me to put it to good effect.”

That may be the closest thing to an admission of error and a recognition of the unfair treatment given to non-State victims of police spying that we are likely to get.

CATCH UP WEEK 1: Links to summaries


David Barr KC (Counsel to the Inquiry)

Timetable of upcoming live evidence

Peter Skelton KC (Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis)


Oliver Sanders KC (Designated Lawyer for HN 65; HN 25; HN 90; HN 56; HN 20; HN 67; HN 33; HN 88)

Charlotte Kilroy KC (The Category H Core Participants; “Jenny”)

Charlotte Kilroy KC  (“Bea”)

James Scobie KC (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament & Lindsey German)


Rajiv Menon KC (Friends of Freedom Press Ltd)

Lily Lewis (Rebecca Johnson; Hilary Moore & Jane Hickman)

Owen Greenhall (David Morris)

Owen Greenhall (Dame Joan Ruddock; Diane Abbott)

Sam Jacobs (Sharon Grant OBE)

Sam Jacobs (Stafford Scott)

Kirsten Heaven (NPSCP Co-ordinating Group)


Timetable of live T2P1 evidence

8th July:  HN20 “Tony Williams” who, along with HN85 Roger Pearce infiltrated anarchist groups like the London Workers Group and the Freedom Collective.
Dave Morris and Steven Sorba will also give evidence about those deployments. Their evidence will raise significant questions about (among other things) SDS interference in the justice system, accessing and reporting privileged and confidential legal information, and the police intentionally spreading misinformation to the press about the causes of anti-police and race riots in the 1980s.

9th July: Roger Pearce (HN85, cover name ‘Roger Thorley’) will give evidence. It is worth paying attention to him, because after his undercover deployment he worked for Metropolitan Police Special Branch (MPSB) rising to Commander in 1998. He is therefore one of a number of undercover officers (UCOs) who went on to hold senior management roles.

10th July:HN12 “Mike Hartley”, HN67 “Alan Bond” and HN82 “Nicholas Green” will give evidence. They all infiltrated Trotskyist groups. Civilian witness 
Michael Chant will also give evidence that day about HN19 “Malcolm Shearing” spying on the Maoist Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist).

11th July: HN19 “Malcolm Shearing” himself will give evidence.

15th July:Kate Hudson will be giving oral evidence on behalf of CND. 
Two important issues in the early to mid-1980s were the decision to allow the United States to site Ground Launched Cruise Missiles in the UK and the debate over replacing Polaris submarines with Trident submarines. The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) grew massively as a result and was infiltrated by SDS officers such as HN65 “John Kerry” and HN88 “Tim Spence”.

16th July: HN65 “John Kerry” (see 15th July above)

17th July: Hilary Moore and Jane Hickman, will give evidence. Both were members of Lambeth Women for PeaceBarr discussed the rise of the women’s peace movement, showing video footage of Greenham Common. This activism led the SDS to recruit its first female undercover officer in many years, HN33 “Lee Bonser,” who gained access to the Greenham Common Women by joining Lambeth Women for Peace. Barr notes that HN33 has provided a witness statement but has declined to give oral evidence. Again, there is no suggestion that she might be compelled.

22nd July:  Dr Lindsey German will be returning to give oral evidence for a second time as a member of the Socialist Workers Party Central Committee. Of the many officers that spied on the SWP and other Trotskyist groups, HN12 and HN82 have both passed away, HN67 is too ill to give evidence and HN95, Stefan Scutt, has not co-operated with the Inquiry. HN90 will give evidence the following day.

23rd July:HN90 who spied on the SWP. (see 22nd July above)

24th July:HN56 “Alan Nicholson”, the only SDS officer to infiltrate the far-Right in this Tranche. He infiltrated the British National Party in Loughton. It appears his operation differed significantly from infiltrations of the Left in that it was short-lived and superficial. His statement claims he spent the entire time terrified of being outed by other police officers with far-Right sympathies.

29th July: ‘Bea’ and ‘Jenny’, who were deceived into sexual relationships by Trevor Morris (cover name Anthony ‘Bobby’ Lewis’) will give evidence. Their opening statements are examined in detail below.

1st August/2nd August: HN78, Trevor Morris will apparently give evidence over two days.  In addition to having had deceitful sexual relationships, Morris is interesting for a number of reasons. He is the only Black undercover officer in this tranche and his witness statement makes claims of racist discrimination within the police.


Week 1


Click here for video, transcripts and written evidence

Day 1 saw the Opening Statements from Counsel to the Inquiry (CTI) in the morning, followed by

Counsel for the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) in the afternoon.

Opening Statement of CTI – David Barr KC

David Barr KC – Counsel to the Inquiry

David Barr KC delivered the first Opening Statement. Yetagain, the inquiryemphasizedit’s focus on investigating the justification for these undercover operations, indicating that we can expect to see more of the offensive cross examinations we saw in T1, where the people spied upon were questioned about the “subversive” nature of their activities and their “intentions to undermine UK Parliamentary Democracy”. Which is ironic, because evidence emerging this week of the SDS spying on elected representatives and providing intelligence for Tory Party electioneering in the 1983 General Election suggests that in fact they were the ones subverting our democracy. But more on that later.

Barr then began by summarizing the findings from Tranche 1, and setting out the histrical context for Tranche 2, highlighting the most significant events from this period (such as the release of the Sex Pistols hit single Anarchy in the UK.) He also mentioned the Cold War, noting that they would be “examining the impact of the end of the Cold War on the work of the SDS and its relationship with the Security Service.” He described the broader political and social landscape of racial tension, and anti-government protest, showing news footage of the 1990 Poll Tax riots and the anti-BNP riots in Welling in 1993.

Specific examples of undercover operations in this context included spying on the Broadwater Farm Defence Campaign; and HN88, who was sent to spy on “Hackney” (as in, the entire community of a London borough) in search of subversive influences. (He ended up monitoring the Hackney Campaign Against the Police Bill (HCAPB) and the Hackney Police Monitoring Group (HPMG)). His reports highlighted existing community tensions and the groups’ calls for non-cooperation with the police. HN88 has declined to give oral evidence. Barr asserted he “cannot be compelled”, although he did not explain why not.

Barr’s history lesson provided the backdrop to a detailed overview of what we can expect over the coming weeks. Tranche 2 Phase 1 will consider the deployments of 14 “open” undercover police officers from the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) who operated between 1978 and 1995. (Note that “open” refers to the deployments that are now subject to public scrutiny. Other officer deployments will also be considered in “closed”, away from the public gaze). Seven former undercover officers and at least ten civilians affected by their deployments will give oral evidence this July. Additional written evidence from other officers and civilians will be published on the Inquiry’s website. You can see a summary of his overview in the timetable of live evidence here.

Barr concluded his opening with an important message about political policing today: “lest anyone consider this a purely historical exercise, it is important to learn lessons from the past. The question of undercover surveillance of activists appears to be back on the agenda, in the light of Lord Walney’s recent report entitled Protecting Our Democracy from Coercion112. Anyone considering this issue would be well advised to heed the lessons that emerged from your interim report and the evidence that we continue to publish.”

Oral evidence hearings will start on 8th July, see the detailed timetable above.

Following CTI’s statement, a substantial quantity of new evidence was published on the inquiry website, including the statement of “Witness Y” on behalf of the Security Service (MI5), Annual Reports from the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) from 1985-1997.

Opening Statement on behalf of the Met Commissioner – Peter Skelton KC

image of Peter Skelton KC
Peter Skelton KC representing Metropolitan Police

The Metropolitan Police’s tone has changed dramatically since the publication of the interim report. From the outset, Skelton’s statement condemned the deployments, tactics, racism, sexism and poor management of the SDS, concluding that “These serious failings have damaged public confidence in the use of undercover policing.”

He issued a number of apologies, first, to the women deceived into sexual relationships by no less than nine officers in the T2 period. “The MPS apologises to the women affected, and to the public, for these failings and for the wider culture of sexism and misogyny which allowed them to happen.”

Although the MPS has apologised to women deceived into sexual relationships in the past, the recognition that those were rooted in a wider police culture of sexism and misogyny is new. Skelton expanded to say this:

During the T2 period, findings of sexism in the MPS were made by the independent People and Police in London study, particularly in its 1983 report, ‘The Police in Action’. More recent reviews have demonstrated that sexism and misogyny continue to be widespread and enduring features of the culture within the MPS. The prevalence of sexual misconduct on the part of SDS officers in the T2 period, the general disregard for the personal autonomy and dignity of the women affected, together with the inaction or indifference of their managers in response, is a clear and acute manifestation of that culture – for which the MPS unreservedly apologises.”

Another new and extremely important admission by the police in their Opening Statement bears quoting at length:

there was unnecessary reporting on political and social justice campaigns, family justice campaigns, community organisations as well as groups that were campaigning for police accountability… It is particularly indefensible that many of the anti-racism campaigns mentioned in SDS reports were seeking justice for members of the Black and Asian communities in London and were attempting to hold the MPS itself accountable for the way in which it policed those communities. The MPS accepts the corrosive effect this type of discriminatory policing has on public trust and apologises unreservedly for this. The fact that the SDS reported on these groups was the result of a critical failure on the part of its managers and senior managers within MPSB to ensure that SDS deployments were conducted in accordance with proper professional and ethical standards. It is also an example of unacceptable political policing by MPSB [Special Branch]…  The MPS accepts corporate responsibility for these failings. Although there have been areas of progress since the T2 period, racism and discrimination remain an enduring challenge within the MPS…The MPS is committed to rebuilding the trust of Black, Asian, and minority ethnic communities in London.”

This is a stunning about turn. For years, we campaigners have been denouncing the ideological and racist biases that underpinned these undercover deployments. However, until now, the police have vehemently sought to deny it.

The third and final surprise in the Metropolitan police statement was their decision to throw not only the SDS officers, but also their managers and even senior Special Branch officers, under a bus.

there was a general failure by the SDS’s managers and by senior managers in MPSB to lead the SDS properly and effectively. These failings extended beyond the issues of illicit sexual relationships and improper engagement with the criminal justice system [eg. see para 44]. Other unprofessional behaviour by UCOs includ[ed] inappropriate reporting and the claiming of illegitimate expenses.”

The statement concludes: Sexual relationships should not have occurred. Reporting on justice and anti-racism groups who posed no criminal or public order threat should not have occurred and would not occur today. Open-ended long-term deployments, which caused a level of personal intrusion that was out of proportion with their value, should have been reassessed and ended. Further, the MPS should not have allowed a culture of exceptionalism and impunity to develop within the SDS.”

Again, this recognition that there was a culture of impunity is a new and interesting development.

Of course, that was not all the Commissioner had to say. In amongst the mea culpas, Skelton levelled some quiet warnings at the Inquiry Chair about his findings. He explicitly cautioned against making certain determinations, particularly regarding the legality of undercover officers obtaining confidential information, actively seeking to shape the scope of the Inquiry’s conclusions, and hinting at potential future legal challenges. He also contended that the Inquiry should not rule out undercover officers trespassing in private homes nor impose a blanket prohibition on UCOs accepting senior positions within groups, as such restrictions would “harm the ability of the police to conduct effective undercover operations in the future”. This echoes scenes from Kate Wilson’s case in the Investigatory Power’s Tribunal, where police lawyers implored the Tribunal not to rule on the issues of Freedom of Expression and Freedom of Association, because of the implications for policing if officers were formally required to respect people’s political rights. The undertones of these arguments are quite chilling and suggest we need to look a lot harder at how the police are approaching political meetings and protests today.


Click here for video, transcripts and written evidence

Opening Statement on behalf of ex-Spycops – Oliver Sanders KC, designated Lawyer for HN 65; HN 25; HN 90; HN 56; HN 20; HN 67; HN 33; HN 88.

image of Oliver Sanders KC
Oliver Sanders KC

Listening to the comments on behalf of the largely unrepentant and quite repellant ex-undercover officers is generally the most unpleasant part of these statements. Oliver Sanders KC, representing the ex-police core participants began by recapping key principles from their previous submissions, emphasizing the police’s duty to maintain public order and prevent crime, as well as the need for intelligence to assess potential threats. He then provided an extensive list of major historical events that took place during the T2 period, including the Brixton riots of 1981, the death of PC Blakelock in the Broadwater Farm riots in 1985, the Poll Tax riot in 1990, and various IRA bombings. He didn’t really explain how the SDS spying had contributed to the outcomes of any of these events, however, he insisted, it is ‘crucial’ context for understanding the environment in which the SDS operated and the perceived need for their intelligence gathering.

The SDS provided valuable intelligence on public order threats, extremist groups, and matters of national security he said, citing statistics from SDS annual reports, noting that in 1992, for example, the unit produced 1,425 intelligence reports, with 611 of these relating to public order. Setting aside the fact that, even by his own calculation that means that more than half of the reporting had no bearing whatsoever on public disorder, and the fact that Sanders himself takes issue with the idea that the Annual Reports might be evidence for the justification of the unit, Sanders claim that all this intelligence was crucial for effective policing was simply not borne out by the evidence in T1, and it seems unlikely it will be this time.

So, it is perhaps unnsurprising that Sanders raised concerns about the inquiry’s approach to the evidence. He stated that “the inquiry has tended to concentrate on the recovery, collation and analysis of surviving SDS documents (primarily intelligence reports) and has largely ignored other sources, the fact that many records are missing and the fact that many matters were never committed to writing in the first place.” This narrow focus, he argues, fails to capture the full scope and impact of the SDS’s activities. It’s an interesting claim. The available evidence looks very very bad for the SDS. However, while we all know that a lot of it was destroyed or never written down, it stretches credibility to suggest that someone mistakenly shredded all the material that would have somehow thrown the officers into a better light.

However we can perhaps find some common ground in his criticism of the gaps in the inquiry’s evidence gathering. He argues that testimony should have been sought from MPSB Squad desk officers who compiled threat assessments, as they could speak directly to how SDS intelligence was used. He states:

“Bearing in mind that the threat assessors were members of the MPSB Squads primarily responsible for setting SDS intelligence requirements, the inquiry should have attempted, and should now attempt, to find out how they did their jobs.’

We couldn’t agree more, although we find it extremely unlikely that that information would somehow exhonorate the police.

Throughout the statement, Sanders maintained that the SDS made a valuable contribution to public order policing and assisting MI5, and urged the inquiry to broaden its focus to fully understand the context and impact of the SDS’s work. In that, we caught a glimpse of the growing rift between the ex-undercover officers and the Metropolitan Policec Service (MPS). Sanders stated that “the inquiry’s conclusion that the SDS would have been closed down during T1 if certain matters had been addressed is impossible to reconcile with the experience and understanding of most if not all of the DL officers given what was being said to them at the time by their MPSB colleagues and MI5.” With that, we can also agree. There is no doubt that senior police and the Security Service were utterly complicit in what was going on. As Sanders said: “If SDS intelligence was not useful and valuable, why did so many of those working above and alongside it think and say that it was and keep requesting more?” However, what the Inquiry actually concluded in 2023 was that had the public been made aware of what the SDS were doing, the unit would have been brought to a rapid end.

Charlotte Kilroy KC delivered two opening statements, the first on behalf of ‘Jenny’, deceived into a friendship and sexual encounter with ‘Anthony ‘Bobby’ Lewis’ (Trevor Morris, HN78) and also the wider Category H group. The second she read on behalf of ‘Bea’ who the same officer (Trevor Morris) deceived into a long-term, intimate and sexual relationship from 1992-1993.

Jenny will be giving evidence on 29th July. This statement detailed Jenny’s experiences and addressed broader systemic issues within the Metropolitan Police Service that allowed such abuses to occur. Jenny was friends with ‘Bobby Lewis’ between 1993-1995. Right at the end of his deployment he used their freindship and intimacy to lure her into a one-night-stand, having told her he was moving abroad. Jenny stressed that the timing of the relationship, just as he was leaving, means it could have had no operational value and stressed the unpleasantness of knowing that he had simply used his position to deceive her into sex. This, and the knowledge of a friendship built on deceit, has caused her significant emotional distress and led to a deep mistrust of those around her.

image of Charlotte Kilroy KC
Charlotte Kilroy KC

The statement went on to identify wider systemic issues within the Metropolitan Police Service, including a casual approach to public privacy, a culture of misogyny, and a lack of respect for the law. Morris’ deployment was intrusive and completely unjustified, and police management failed to prevent the abuse.

Jenny emphasized the need for answers about the extent of the surveillance and its impact on the affected women’s lives, highlighting the ongoing emotional damage caused by the lack of information and answers.

Cat H CPs have faced significant delays and challenges in engaging with Tranche 2 of the Inquiry due to extended delays in the disclosure process. Despite promises of necessary disclosure by Spring 2023, much material was only disclosed in 2024, and some remains outstanding. This has made it difficult for the Cat H CPs to complete their statements and fully participate in the Inquiry, causing additional distress.

The statement also expressed concerns about changes to the Inquiry’s methodology for Tranche 3, fearing that the pressure to conclude by 2026 may lead to the exclusion of crucial evidence about political spying. The Cat H CPs urge a reconsideration of this approach, and seek recognition of the broader context of political persecution in which these abuses occurred.

The statement concluded with a call for ensuring that no member of the public faces such intrusions or abuses ever again.

Bea will be giving evidence on 29th July. Like Jenny, she was deceived by Trevor Morris, and had a long-term intimate sexual relationship with him from 1992-1993, built on deceit and manipulation. She stated that she “unknowingly provided cover for undercover officer Bobby Lewis” spying on the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) and other social justice campaigns.

Bea made her own separate Opening Statement, read by Charlotte Kilroy. She began by highlighting an important and painful point about her relationship with Trevor Morris. There were children involved. Her own, very young children, whose lives he invaded, but also his children, whose father was off deceiving another family instead of caring for his own.She then went on to address her experiences and the broader implications of undercover policing practices by the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS). She criticized the damaging and unjustifiable tactics used by the SDS, highlighting specific events and broader systemic issues.

Her perspective is crucial for challenging Morris’s characterizations of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) and their activities. She focused on the Welling demonstration on October 16, 1993, against the British National Party (BNP) headquarters. She criticizes Bobby for taking credit for false intelligence that allegedly claimed the SWP planned to burn down the BNP headquarters. Bea argues that this claim is unsubstantiated and preposterous, and criticises not only the deceptive and dangerous nature of SDS operations, but also the kind of public order policing tactics applied on the day, citing aggressive policing, and the use of a secret public order manual. Bea underscores the involvement of senior police officers in both the Welling protest and the Stephen Lawrence case, pointing out their role in undermining justice and public trust. She criticizes the misuse of public funds and resources to spy on lawful democratic activities and collect irrelevant personal information.

She emphasized not only the personal but also the collective harm caused by SDS operations. She describes the emotional and psychological impact on those deceived into relationships, the undermining of social justice campaigns, and the broader implications for democratic society. She condemned the policies and politicians that allowed such surveillance to take place and stressed the need for accountability and a shift towards protecting democratic values, calling for significant changes to prevent such practices in the future.

James Scobie KC (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Lindsey German)

images of James Scobie KC
James Scobie KC

Scobie delivered an opening statement on behalf of a number of CPs, including former leading members of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) such as Lindsey German (who will be giving evidence on 22nd July); Michael Chant from the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist) (giving evidence on 10th July); and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND). Kate Hudson of CND will be giving evidence on 15th July.

His statement, like Charlotte Kilroy’s, addressed the procedural challenges his clients had faced due to late disclosure of critical documents, which had made it impossible to fully participate in this round of hearings, noting:

The State core participants have had the benefit of time and considerable resources. They have had access to the material for years and have extensive teams of staff and lawyers. The Police witnesses are retired, on generous tax-payer funded pensions. Most of our core-participants are still working full-time. This imbalance has always existed in this Inquiry. However, the approach to Tranche 2 is strongly suggestive of a deliberate attempt to silence the non-state core participants”

The Socialist Workers Party

image of SWP stall in Trafalgar Square at the 2011 anti-cuts protest in London
SWP stall in Trafalgar Square at the 2011 anti-cuts protest in London

The Socialist Workers Party (SWP) was heavily infiltrated during Tranche 2. However, Lindsey German, a prominent figure in the SWP, has received only a fraction of the relevant documents, with significant material still outstanding, including that related to undercover officer HN95, who had close ties with MI5 while working at the SWP headquarters.

The Security Service’s witness statement, served shortly before the hearing, is lengthy and references the SWP extensively. However, the majority of associated Security Service documents remain undisclosed, limiting insight into MI5’s involvement.

What evidence we do have of SDS spying on the SWP shows it was marked by undercover officers taking on significant roles within the organization, and reporting extensively on party activities, including personal details of members, internal conflicts, and strategic decisions. ‘Alan Bond’ (HN67) and other officers infiltrated SWP headquarters, gaining access to sensitive information that could be used to disrupt the organization’s effectiveness. Extremely detailed reporting was sent to MI5 and other state entities indicating that the SDS were used to monitor, control, and undermine the SWP’s political activities, reflecting a broader strategy of managing dissent, controlling political opponents and maintaining the status quo.

The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND)

image of CND protest
CND protest, London 1981

CND also faced significant surveillance, with MI5 and Special Branch showing a keen interest in their activities from 1981 onwards. The statement highlights contemporary evidence, such as that of MI5 whistleblower Cathy Massiter, and points out that the reality emerging through this Inquiry is in fact far worse than anyone imagined.

The British state’s surveillance of CND intensified as the organization gained mass support and posed a challenge to government policies. The disclosure reveals that MI5’s interest in CND was partly driven by the organization’s influence on public opinion and its potential impact on electoral politics. The Inquiry heard how the SDS and MI5 provided ‘dirt’ on CND members to Michael Hesseltine (the then Minister of Defence) and his DS19 unit, which was directly tasked with discrediting the peace movement. That material was then used by the Conservative Party to undermine opponents in marginal seats in the 1983 General Election. This evidence of the direct use of undervcover reporting to manipulate elections is the clearest example of the subversion of Parliamentary Democracy to have emerged in the Inquiry to date, and it did not come from any of the so-called ‘subversive’ organisations being spied on. Rather it was the Metropolitan Police, the Security Services and the Ministry of Defence.

We also heard how UCOs took positions of influence in CND. One particularly striking example was ‘John Kerry’ (HN65), who became Chief Steward for a major CND demonstration. He plays down his role, claiming all he did was plug in some speakers, however, this failure to fulfill his responsibilities is itself problematic. The Chief Steward would be responsible for representing CND and ensuring security. Dereliction of those duties could both damage the organisation and put people at risk, undermining the very public order he was purportedly there to protect.

Overall, Scobie’s statement revealed a deeply concerning pattern of state surveillance and infiltration aimed at managing and undermining political dissent and subverting legitimate political activities. The extensive infiltration of both CND and the SWP, the ethical breaches by undercover officers, and the political motivations behind these actions highlight significant abuses of power.


Click here for video, transcripts and written evidence

On the final day of Opening Statements to the Undercover Policing Inquiry, we heard compelling statements from the legal representatives of many of the non-State core participants.The running order for the day included Rajiv Menon KC (Friends of Freedom Press Ltd), Lily Lewis (Rebecca Johnson, Hilary Moore, Jane Hickman), Owen Greenhall (David Morris, Dame Joan Ruddock, Diane Abbott), Sam Jacobs (Sharon Grant OBE, Stafford Scott), and Kirsten Heaven (NPSCP Co-ordinating Group).

There will now be a break for the weekend (and the General Election) before live evidence hearings start on Monday 8th July.

Rajiv Menon KC: Friends of Freedom Press Ltd

image of Rajiv Menon KC
Rajiv Menon KC

Rajiv Menon KC began the day by presenting the opening statement for the Friends of Freedom Press Ltd. Steven Sorba will be giving live evidence on behalf of FFP on 8th July. Established in 1886, Freedom is the UK’s longest-running anarchist publication, and since its inception, it has been a consistent target of state surveillance. Menon detailed the infiltration by undercover officers, particularly focusing on Roger Pearce (HN85), who operated under the alias ‘Roger Thorley’ from 1980. Pearce, who would later rise to significant positions within the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), including Commander of Special Branch and Director of Intelligence, spent his undercover tenure spying on the anarchist community, particularly focusing on the Freedom Collective, and even writing articles for the newspaper. For example his “Prisoners of Politics” piece which argued for political status for Irish Republican prisoners.

Pearce’s activitieswent beyond the now familiar gathering of deeply personal information about the people he spied on, to spreading division within the groups he targeted and influencing their activities. Perhaps most importantly, he is accused of fabricating evidence and manipulating legal processes to secure convictions. He attendedmeetings where legal advice was given to defendantssuch as Dave McCabe and Patrizia Giambi and reported back on the legal strategies discussed. “He knew that Dave and Patrizia were innocent, but his political loyalty to the Branch outweighed any sense of justice,” the statement emphasised.

Evidence about the infiltration of Freedom sheds more light on politically motivated efforts, on the part of Special Branch, to suppress radical dissent. The statement uses the example of the 1981 Brixton riots. The evidence makes clear that the police were well aware that the true causes of the Brixton Riots (economic deprivation, racial discrimination and racist policing). However, the narrative fed to the media by the police falsely blamed anarchists to serve political ends. This kind of ideologically motivated political manipulation by the police is an emerging theme in this Tranche and there will no doubt be some interesting evidence in the weeks ahead.

Another emerging theme also touched on in Menon’s statement was a criticism of the UCPI for its limited disclosure and the restrictions placed on sharing critical information. The ability to provide a comprehensive account was hampered by restrictions on sharing personal disclosure among former and current FFP directors. This proved to be a significant barrier to presenting a complete picture of the past activities of UCOs like Pearce.

Lily Lewis: Rebecca Johnson, Hilary Moore, Jane Hickman

Image of Lily Lewis
Lily Lewis

Lily Lewis presented the opening statement for Rebecca Johnson, Hilary Moore, and Jane Hickman, key figures in the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp. This camp, established in the early 1980s, was a non-hierarchical movement dedicated to peace, disarmament, and campaigning against nuclear weapons. It and its members were subjected to extensive and unjustified surveillance by undercover officers, including HN33/HN98, “Kathryn Lesley ( ‘Lee’) Bonser”, the only female officer in this tranche, who it seems was specifically headhunted because “The Prime Minister wanted to know what the Greenham Women were doing” (From the statement of HN33).

Again, the opening statement provided compelling evidence of the political (rather than public order) motivations behind the surveillance, citing documents that revealed Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s intent to publicly discredit the Greenham Women and their supporters by investigating their finances and backgrounds. Core Participants ask the Inquiry to investigate the extent to which the SDS were deployed to gather material to this end.

Jane Hickman, Rebecca Johnson, and Hilary Moore will all give evidence on 17th July. Each of these women, born in the early 1950s, dedicated themselves to peace, disarmament, and campaigning against nuclear weapons in the UK. The legacy of Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp is significant. Their stance on nuclear disarmament was eventually recognized and adopted by the US and UK through the signing of the INF Treaty in 1987, leading to the removal of the last missiles from Greenham in 1991. “The Greenham Women were on the right side of history,” the statement asserts, emphasizing their contribution to global peace efforts, and adding “Greenham succeeded in making a fundamental shift in the way that many women saw themselves,” highlighting the empowerment and political agency that the movement fostered.

The peace camp was nonviolent. The women believed in democratic engagement and their protests were well-organized and publicized, often involving the support and cooperation of local authorities. Despite this peaceful approach, they were subjected to intense surveillance by undercover officers. “Lee Bonser” infiltrated Lambeth Women for Peace (LWP), took on significant roles in the group and reported on their activities from 1983 to 1986. “Their activities were always peaceful,” her statement admits, yet her deployment continued for nearly four years. Reporting included accounts of meetings, political discussions, legally privileged advice, home addresses, personal phone numbers, car registrations, and even bank details. The collected intelligence was not only retained but also shared with the Security Service and, in some cases, the American government.

Jane Hickman, Rebecca Johnson, and Hilary Moore continue to be active in their respective fields, advocating for peace and justice. Their participation in the Inquiry is driven by a desire to uncover the truth and ensure that the unjust surveillance they experienced is acknowledged and addressed. “The police made a terrible mistake in using what is supposed to be a last resort against citizens in this country,” Jane Hickman concludes. This opening statement serves as a powerful reminder of the need for vigilance against the misuse of state surveillance powers for political purposes, ensuring that future generations can continue to advocate for change without fear of unwarranted intrusion.

Owen Greenhall: David Morris

Image of Owen Greenhall
Owen Greenhall

Dave is a litigant in person, and a dedicated community campaigner since the mid-1970s. He is notable for appearing in undercover intelligence reports in all tranches of this inquiry, spanning forty years. He will be giving evidence in T2P1 on 8th July and returning after the summer to give further evidence in T2P2.

A highlight of the opening statements at previous hearings has been his delivery of his own statements, written personally to ensure authenticity and save on legal costs. His no nonsense style, speaking truth to power, is always a breath of fresh air. However, this time the Inquiry refused to allow him to speak, insisting that his words be read by a barrister instead. Owen Greenhall did his best to do the statement justice, but it was not the same. It felt like a particularly petty move on the part of this inquiry, which constantly seems to be trying to mute or silence the voices of the victims of an ever-growing litany of abuses by undercover police.

Despite this handicap, Morris’s statement was characteristically powerful and detailed. He poignantly recounted his decades-long activism and the targeting he faced from undercover police units. “I speak as a life-long community activist and organiser doing my best to stand up for the rights of people, in defence of the environment, and the future of our society and planet.”

A central theme of Morris’s statement was the unjustified nature of deployments against the small, grassroots organizations he was involved in. “Those involved were concerned members of the public doing their best to question and improve things,” he asserts. He recounted how undercover officer Graham Coates, who targeted him and his groups in the 1970s, confessed, “I do not believe any info I provided.. was particularly significant. I do not think it would have made any difference to public order if I had not worked for the SDS.”

In this Tranche, the London Workers Group (LWG), which aimed to promote worker solidarity and challenge exploitation was infiltrated by undercover officer Tony Williams. Morris criticizes the invasion of privacy and trust, especially as Williams admitted to not witnessing any public disorder. “Mr ‘Williams’ took on significant roles at various times, including publicity manager, group representative at an international conference, Treasurer and Secretary – a position he abused to be able to steal the private contact details of the group’s supporters,” Morris explains.

image of Dave Morris & Helen Steel outside McDonald’s
Dave Morris & Helen Steel outside McDonald’s

Morris also discussed the “Persons Unknown” defense campaign, formed to support individuals facing conspiracy charges. He highlights how Tony Williams infiltrated this group, reporting on privileged legal strategies and undermining the campaign’s efforts.

Similarly, London Greenpeace, which Morris was deeply involved in from the early 1980s, was infiltrated by undercover officers like Bob Lambert and John Dines. Lambert and Dines not only gathered intelligence but also engaged in deceitful and abusive relationships. “He [Bob Lambert] engineered fraudulent and therefore abusive sexual relationships with a number of women including fathering a child (who he later abandoned),” Morris states. He condemns the “gross invasions of privacy” and the unethical behavior of officers who manipulated personal relationships and stole private information.

Morris also touched on the broader implications of these tactics, which reflect a disregard for legal processes and human rights, with the police collaborating with corporations against campaigners.

He posed the question: why didn’t undercover police target the entities that truly threaten our society? Corporations engaging in systemic exploitation and environmental destruction, for example, or the government, supporting andengaging in illegal wars.

In concluding his statement, Morris emphasizes the fundamental right of people to organize, protest, and seek positive change. He invokes a long tradition of resisting oppressive laws and explained “Protests and movements for change also enable people to empower themselves and each other, and should be encouraged everywhere. By spreading collective self-organisation, mutual aid and community solidarity, it can be demonstrated there are alternative and better ways of living and running our society – this is real democracy in action.”

Owen Greenhall: Dame Joan Ruddock & Diane Abbot

Owen Greenhall delivered a further opening statement on behalf of Diane Abbott MP and Dame Joan Ruddock PC. Both women are prominent political figures which makes their targeting by undercover police particularly troubling.

Image of Diane Abbott MP
Diane Abbott MP

Diane Abbott was the first black woman ever elected to Parliament in 1987. She has been a leading anti-racism campaigner for decades and played significant roles in movements such as the Black Sections within the Labour Party and the Anti-Racist Alliance. Documents disclosed in the inquiry reveal that undercover officers reported on numerous events where she spoke during the Tranche 2 period. Former undercover officer Peter Francis has admitted to collecting information on Diane Abbott while infiltrating anti-racist groups, reporting details of her activities to his Special Branch superiors. Abbott condemned the spying as politically motivated and a breach of her privacy and the trust of those she worked with. Speaking in the House of Commons in 2015 she stated: “I assure the House that I was never engaged in anything illegal and I certainly was not engaged in seeking to undermine democracy,” Indeed, her activities were aimed at reinforcing democracy by advocating for marginalized communities, notably the Stephen Lawrence campaign.

The statement raised concerns about racial discrimination in SDS activities, based not on any policing need, but rather on a deep and unwarrented fear of politically engaged ethnic minority communities.

Dame Joan Ruddock was Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and MP for Deptford from 1987 to 2015. She shared her experiences of extensive surveillance due to her anti-nuclear activism and called for accountability from the Home Office and senior government officials who authorized and oversaw these operations.

The Spying on Abbott and Ruddock raises serious concerns about the erosion of the Wilson Doctrine, which prohibits targeted surveillance of MPs by state agencies. Ruddock stated, “In 1981, I was elected as chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament… In 1987, I became a Member of this House and took the loyal oath. In 1997, I became a Minister, and I subsequently signed the Official Secrets Act. How is it that surveillance was carried out on me for all that time?”

The spying on elected MPs like Abbot and Ruddock highlights an erosion of democratic principles, and yet again, it is the SDS and not the groups they were targeting who are found to have been undermining Parliamentary Democracy.

Sam Jacobs: Sharon Grant OBE

Image of Sam Jacobs
Sam Jacobs

Sharon Grant, is a core participant in this public inquiry in representation of her late husband, Bernie Grant MP.Sam Jacobs displayed a photograph of Bernie Grant as he delivered a poignant account of his political life. Arriving in the UK from British Guaianaas a teenager, Grant became deeply involved in the trade union movement. He became the first black leader of a council in Europe, and he was elected to Member of Parliament for Tottenham in 1987, where he served until his death in 2000. His contributions were widely recognized, with the Prime Minister describing him as inspirational. His portrait now hangs in the Houses of Parliament.

Sharon Grant’s statement eloquently expresses what a severe affront to democracy the spying on Bernie Grant and other Members of Parliament was. The explanations provided by undercover officers about their role in reporting on MPs appear to downplay their actions. For instance, HN78, Trevor Morris, stated that he was merely providing intelligence and was never told not to include information on MPs. HN25, who filed numerous reports on Bernie Grant, justified recording MPs’ presence at public events in order to understand alliances and potential future attendance. HN88 claimed that reporting on speeches by MPs was relevant to understanding the community’s views on police-related legislation.

Image of Sharon Grant & Neville Lawrence deliver letter about spycops to the Home Office, 24 April 2018
Neville handed in letter addressed to Amber Rudd detailing plight of women who were subject to police undercover operations.

However, the reports on Bernie Grant go far beyond recording his presence at events; they analyze the content of his speeches and even question his sincerity. One report describes him as engaging in “a tour of conspiracy theories” and being “cynical,” while another calls him “inflammatory.” No undercover officer has taken responsibility for these reports, and HN78, Trevor Morris, denies authorship despite clear links. This discrepancy raises concerns about the credibility of the officers’ testimonies.

There are 28 reports directly mentioning Bernie Grant, nine of which were filed by officer HN25, who estimated that approximately three-quarters of his reporting is missing. Sharon Grant stresses that her statement is based on limited disclosure and snippets from witness statements, and this leaves her uncomfortable, making her statement without full knowledge of the extent of the reporting. Nevertheless the picture that has emerged is concerning, indicating a police role in discrediting her husband and the wider black community. She recalls the misreporting of Bernie Grant’s actions and statements related to the events at Broadwater Farm. The language of the reports and their distribution only heightens her concerns.

Many of the reports also reference Bernie Grant’s participation in events where his constituents experienced injustice at the hands of the Metropolitan Police, such as the killing of Joy Gardner and the wrongful conviction of Winston Silcott. Given that the Joy Gardener campaign was run from Bernie Grant’s office, Sharon Grant questions whether undercover officers infiltrated the premises of an elected politician. She emphasizes the need to understand whether police actions interfered with democratic processes and what impact they had on Bernie Grant’s reputation and his ability to address serious issues on behalf of his constituents. She highlighted the need for a fuller exploration of the police’s role in this kind of anti-democractic activity.

Sam Jacobs: Stafford Scott

Image of Stafford Scott
Stafford Scott

Stafford Scott, representing the Broadwater Farm Defence Committee (BFDC), recounted his personal experiences of police misconduct and surveillance. BFDC was an organization established in the wake of police violence and wrongful prosecutions. It was set up “by the community with the support of the local authority and Member of Parliament and worked to protect the rights of the community”. Despite the peaceful nature of their activities, the BFDC and Scott were subjected to extensive monitoring. Scott highlighted the racial bias in the surveillance, noting that black-led campaigns were viewed with inherent suspicion by the SDS.

Scott’s detailed recounting of his experiences underscores the profound impact of surveillance and police misconduct on individuals and communities striving for justice. His statement contained personal stories including how, in 1985, he and his family were “arrested at gunpoint, held incommunicado for 36 hours, and subjected to racist taunts.” This incident, among others, underscores the hostile and racially biased treatment he and his community faced from police. Despite these challenges, Scott continued his activism. His efforts have been instrumental in exposing systemic issues within the police force, including the racist and divisive operation of the “Gangs Matrix,” which was eventually withdrawn by the MPS. Deputy Assistant Commissioner Richard Martin has acknowledged Scott’s work with the MPS and other organizations “to better improve community relations.”

Scott notes the significant amount of intelligence reports, particularly from undercover officer HN25, concerning the BFDC and himself. There are over thirty reports, and we are told that “approximately three-quarters of his [HN25’s] reporting is missing.” This makes it mpossible tobuild a comprehensive understanding of the scope of the surveillance. What we do know is that Scott and the BFDC had registry file numbers opened on them by Special Branch, signaling a significant level of interest from the MPS. The explanation given for this surveillance was ‘public order’. However, this lacks credibility. There were never any public order issues at BFDC events, and indications of “violent behaviour” in the SDS reporting include a description of a reggae song played on a demonstration.

Despite the significant gaps in the evidence the police’s broader agenda is clear. The intense interest in justice campaigns over the wrongful convictions of the Tottenham Three or the killings of Cherry Groce, Joy Gardner, and Stephen Lawrence, and undercover reporting about the Newham Monitoring Project and Hackney Community Defence Association (which kept files on police corruption that were accessed by Trevor Morris, HN78) stems from a desire to limit the impact of community campaigns for police accountability. This was reflected in the Metropolitant Police admission on 1st July, in which they apologised for their racist spying on justice campaigns and for the culture of ‘exceptionalism and impunity’ that existed in the SDS.

Stafford Scott continues to fight for justice and equality and he asks the Inquiry not to marginalize his experiences further, to recognize the significant contributions he and the BFDC have made, and address the systemic racism within undercover policing to ensure accountability for the injustices faced by the black community.

Kirsten Heaven: NPSCP Co-ordinating Group

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Kirsten Heaven

Kirsten Heaven delivered the final opening statement on behalf of the Co-ordinating Group of non-police, non-state core participants (NPSCPs), bringing together many of the points made in opening statements over the previous three days, and providing a broad overview of the systemic issues that the inquiry needs to address.

The statement began with the procedural issues that have hindered the Inquiry. Heaven emphasized the failure to provide timely disclosure, which has prevented meaningful participation for those affected and placed an enormous emotional and practical burden on NPSCPs. Key witness statements and evidence have been provided too late for it to be possible to process the material. Sheblamed arbitrary deadlines imposed by the Home Office, and emphasized the need for the Inquiry to adopt a more open and collaborative approach, highlighting the importance of meaningful participation from those affected by the surveillance. “The best people to assist in helping the Inquiry to ascertain what is missing or incorrect within the evidence are the non-state core participants,” she argued.

Her statement provided a damning critique of practices and oversight from 1983 to 1992, and a critical examination of the systemic abuses and failures of undercover policing in the UK. It explored the political motivations behind SDS operations, citing examples of surveillance targeted at politically active individuals and groups who posed no legitimate threat and the misuse of state surveillance powers for political ends. There was a lack of accountability and oversight, and that led to profound personal and political impacts on those targeted. She called for the Inquiry to hold senior officials and government departments accountable for their roles in overseeing and authorizing these operations and for transparency, accountability, and meaningful participation going forward, to ensure that the Inquiry fulfills its mandate and delivers justice for those affected.

Among the many issues raised was the surveillance of political figures, particularly Members of Parliament (MPs). The NPSCPs highlight the violation of the Wilson Doctrine, which prohibits the surveillance of MPs.

The statement explores the supposed justification for the SDS’s operations, revealing a pattern of political policing. It cites the 1983 SDS Annual Report, which openly discussed targeting groups and individuals who were critical of the police. The report admitted that the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) posed no serious threat to public order. It ocntinued to be targeted for being a “conspicuous irritant to the establishment.” This, the NPSCPs argue, exemplifies how the SDS’s activities were driven by political motives, and even a desire to avoid “embarrasment”, rather than legitimate policing concerns.

The NPSCPs also highlight the extensive and invasive nature of the SDS operations. Undercover officers in the T2 period continued to assume significant roles of influence within groups they targeted, trespass into private homes, steal the identities of dead infants and engage in intimate relationships under false pretenses, and there is growing evidence that senior officers were aware of, and sometimes complicit in, these unlawful and immoral activities. For example, HN99 Detective Chief Inspector Nigel David Short warned officers about being tempted by “flesh pot females,”. HN19, codenamed ‘Malcolm Shearing,’ reports how, during a presentation to members of the Security Services, DCI Wait made a “light-hearted introduction” mentioning that “one of our animal people had been involved in a pregnancy scare but the fact of the child being mixed race ruled out the officer entirely.” This not only trivializes serious misconduct but also highlights the racist and sexist attitudes pervasive in the SDS, revealing a deep-rooted culture of impunity and prejudice.

The Home Office was aware of the controversial practices within the SDS. Documents indicate that senior civil servants were concerned about the use of the police to spy on groups critical of the government. However, despite this awareness, the abuses were allowed to continue unchecked.

NPSCPs insist that it is only through full disclosure and complete transparency that the true extent of the SDS’s activities can be understood and properly scrutinized. They call for the Inquiry to publish the full list of groups that were spied on and to release the real and cover names of all SDS officers and managers, and theyemphasize the need for public scrutiny and accountability in the Inquiry. Without these measures, the Inquiry risks failing to deliver justice for those who were wronged by these undercover operations.