Why has it taken this long for a call to look at the Police’s undercover activities?


3:28 pm - June 25th 2013

by Jenny Jones AM    


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I hope the news that the Metropolitan Police sent undercover police to spy on the Stephen Lawrence family becomes the turning point in the on-going spy cops scandal.

It’s surprising it has taken until now for broad calls for a public inquiry. Why not when we first discovered undercover police officers had been having long-term intimate relationships with activists as a tool for gathering information? What about all the other victims of police spies?

The Met had a unit that stole the identities of dead babies, apparently withheld information from a judicial inquiry and used sex as a tool to gain information and cover from innocent women.

Plus, we already have a fresh set of allegations that police spies infiltrated campaigns against police corruption. The sorry saga of perverted and possibly illegal undercover policing needs a public inquiry to get to the truth, or as much of it as we can.

There are currently between 12 to 15 inquiries or reviews looking into different aspects of the murky world of police spies.

The time has come for one judicial inquiry to look at all the allegations, including the crimes Mark Kennedy committed in Germany, Bob Lambert authoring the McLibel leaflet, fathering children with the women they spied on and the allegations about the firebombing of Debenhams raised under Parliamentary privilege.

There must be senior Ministers who are open to the inquiry idea, in the same way that the Met Commissioner appears to be.

It’s been 20 months since the Met launched Operation Herne, their own investigation into undercover policing, but the Assembly’s Police and Crime Committee are yet to be told how many matters have been referred to the IPCC for investigation, how many cases the CPS are looking at, if any disciplinary action has been taken against officers, or if these officers are still supervising undercover operations.

There are 23 officers and 10 staff working on the case, but there have been no arrests and the Home Secretary only heard about the alleged smearing of the Lawrence family via the media.

A judicial inquiry, unlike the internal police investigation and Tom Ellison QC’s review, would allow the victims of undercover operations – the women, the children of officers, the parents whose children’s identities were stolen and the Lawrences – a voice in this process.

They could tell their side of the story and see those responsible held to account in public for their actions and decisions.

PS, I will be questioning the Commissioner about undercover policing at Thursday’s meeting of the Assembly’s Police and Crime Committee.
I will also be speaking in the Speakers Forum, Green Futures Field of Glastonbury at 3pm on Saturday.

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About the author
This is a guest post. Jenny Jones is a London Assembly Member, representing the Green Party. She is also leader of the Green Group and Chair of the Planning and Housing Committee.
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Civil liberties ,Crime

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Reader comments


This story is being horribly mangled all over the news programmes. Firstly, the undercover police having relationships with unsuspecting women is criminal.
As for their infiltrating groups of eco protesters – that just gets completely ridiculous. Those kinds of groups are not worth bothering with.
They probably do it with the EDL too – or would have a few years ago.

The Lawrence part is the most contentious though. On the Dispatches programme, under cover cop Peter Francis makes it clear several times that they were wanting to know all about the campaign that was being run and who were the people involved. There were definitely some ”hotheads” amongst those campaign groups. Lee Jasper proudly says he was part of it. Youth Against Racism in Europe are the group that Peter Francis joined. Make of them what you will. It’s a pretty basic culture clash. Stiff police – run on quasi-military lines, and militant anti-racist activists who wanted to square up to those big bad policemen.

Just read Lee Jasper’s account.
You see the way he sees himself, just by the photos he uses at the top of his blog. The police were obviously scared of Rodney King style riots breaking out.

Targetting Duwayne Brooks like they did after he was filmed at the anti-BNP demo in Welling was pretty nasty and cynical.
But mostly, this story is like a bit of a runaway roller coaster, and the tone of the OP here just shows how bad it is.

The police and black communities like shown here from Notting Hill back in the 70s were ALWAYS going to clash. You could not have had it not happen.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQQLLtfNhcY

They were too militant for the police – and so it worked out the way it did.
The same thing would happen anywhere.

2. Richard Carey

I would guess the answer to your question is; to ensure that by the time the damaging revelations come out they can claim that “the people involved are no longer working for the cops and that such things couldn’t possibly happen now, lessons will certainly be learned and anyway it was a long time ago now, can’t we move on?”

News update:

Lord Justice Leveson is to be tackled by MPs over his failure to follow up a police report which revealed that hacking operations were ordered by law, telecoms and insurance companies.

The judge who conducted the Government-commissioned investigation into press ethics has been called before a Commons select committee to face questions over his inquiry.

Lord Justice Leveson received a report from the Serious Organised Crime Agency which said companies routinely hired criminals to hack, blag and steal private information from rivals.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/mps-to-confront-leveson-over-why-he-ignored-hacking-beyond-the-press-8673657.html

Also, what of the abuse of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 by local authorities to investigate trivial offences?

4. Richard Carey

@ Bob B,

don’t question the state, or we’ll end up like Somalia. I learned this from you on another thread.

England developed a system of Parliamentary government in which a primary function of a representative Parliament is to hold government ministers and the activities that they supervise to account. Most moderns bills of rights embody the principles incorporated in Magna Carta of 1215.

Somalia hasn’t had an effective government for years: it is a failed state. The result there hasn’t been a libertarian paradise. Instead, the rule of the gun prevails there – with homicidal consequences and misery for many.

Try this on: World’s happiest OECD countries
http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2013/may/28/worlds-happiest-countries-oecd-australia

6. Alex Workaday

Thanks Jenny. As a constituent, please feel free to echo my tone of undiluted OUTRAGE over the entire issue. The truth is, if the response to the original Mark Stone abuses had been in any way meaningful, the current revelations about the police’s disgraceful surveillance of Duwayne Brooks (the bereaved victim, for Christ’s sake) might have come out AGES AGO.

Can the motivation for Police surveillance operations get more debased than this?

“Scotland Yard deployed undercover officers in political groups that sought to uncover corruption in the Metropolitan police and campaigned for justice for people who had died in custody, the Guardian can reveal.”
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/jun/24/metropolitan-police-spying-undercover-officers

This letter to the Guardian is asking whether it is now time to have another Royal Commission on the Police service:

“How much more do we have to learn about the misconduct of police officers before we have a full royal commission to examine what has been happening and to set out rules for the future policing of our society?”

8. So Much For Subtlety

A judicial inquiry, unlike the internal police investigation and Tom Ellison QC’s review, would allow the victims of undercover operations – the women, the children of officers, the parents whose children’s identities were stolen and the Lawrences – a voice in this process.

The women are not victims. They had consentual sexual relations with some men they liked. Where is the harm? It is going to be hard to prohibit anyone from lying to their potential future partner but at the moment I am pretty sure it is not a ctime. The children? It is wrong not to tell children the whole truth about their parents? Well any number of adoptees and IVF children will have cases to follow up I expect. Much less the problems of artifical semination.

The parents of the children whose identities were used are not victims because they did not know. You are telling them. If you don’t tell them, they will not know. The harm is surely the media’s fault.

As for the Lawrences, someone would have to prove harm. What harm did the police do anyone?

This is a storm in a tea cup that no one but a few Trots cares about. It is necessary for the police to keep an eye on radicals. The only sensible discussion should be about which groups. There is no evidence of harm I can see here.

i agree with DAmon and SMFS, you;re right wheres the outrage at Under cover cop, Lizzie Davis, saying to Colin stagg ,admit you killed Rachel Nickell and we can have sex

10. So Much For Subtlety

The police in America regularly go on line and pretend to be 14 year old girls. Should some paedophile happen to chat to them and ask them out on a date, who has committed a crime?

Do the paedophiles have a right to cry foul because the police lied to them?

Do the paedophiles have a right to cry foul because the police lied to them?

Depends on the circumstances, could be entrapment.

SMFS: “The police in America regularly go on line and pretend to be 14 year old girls.”

In the late 1990s, for about a year or so I was plagued by invitations to talk on Compuserve from correspondents purporting to be nubile teens trying to make erotic conversations. I got so fed up with that I emailed someone in police criminal intelligence whom I had met through a Compuserve social meet. What I mailed is that if these invitations to talk were genuine then the correspondents really were in moral danger. There was no response to my email but the invitations to talk stopped.

That unpleasant personal experience reminded me of this shameful attempt by the Police to elicit from Colin Stagg a confession to the murder of Rachel Nickell on Wimbledon Commin:

“On 15 July 1992, Rachel Nickell was walking with her son on Wimbledon Common when she was brutally stabbed and sexually assaulted. A lengthy, expensive, and controversial investigation ensued, during which Colin Stagg was falsely charged and acquitted before the case went cold. In 2002, with more advanced and refined forensic techniques available, Scotland Yard reopened the case, and on 18 December 2008, Robert Napper pleaded guilty to Nickell’s manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. Napper, who had already been convicted of a 1993 double killing, was told by the Old Bailey judge that he would be held indefinitely at Broadmoor High Security hospital.”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Rachel_Nickell

“On 13 August 2008, Stagg’s solicitor announced that the compensation, set by Lord Brennan QC and accepted by Stagg, was £706,000.”

That £706,000 compensation for the failed attempt by the Police to implicate Colin Stagg in the murder was paid for by taxpayers.

13. flyingrodent

So Much For Subtlety has previously told readers of this very site that General Franco and General Pinochet were broadly correct.

Folk should probably bear that in mind, when he starts talking about how only mad lefties should be upset by secret police skulduggery directed at the citizenry.

A man who’s fine with the occasional mass execution to cleanse the state of Commies and fellow-travellers probably isn’t a good judge of the value or morality of clandestine police actions.

For a league table of 20th century democides, try this:
http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/20TH.HTM

For an account of the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya in the 1950s through into the early 1960s, see the Wikipedia entry for: Mau Mau Uprising. By the account there: “The British possibly killed in excess of 20,000 Mau Mau militants”

15. So Much For Subtlety

11. ukliberty

Depends on the circumstances, could be entrapment.

Sure. And if any of these women are arrested for child porn offenses, I am sure they will have a case. But how entrapment applies here seems to escape me. They did not lure these women into radicalism. They found them there.

flyingrodent

So Much For Subtlety has previously told readers of this very site that General Franco and General Pinochet were broadly correct. …. A man who’s fine with the occasional mass execution to cleanse the state of Commies and fellow-travellers probably isn’t a good judge of the value or morality of clandestine police actions.

Indeed I did. But that is precisely why I am best placed to judge the morality of what is going on. But still, it is clear from your distorted out-of-context quoting that you are not yet ready for a grown up conversation about morality in a time of revolution and mass murder, but perhaps you will let me know when you are.

16. So Much For Subtlety

12. Bob B

In the late 1990s, for about a year or so I was plagued by invitations to talk on Compuserve from correspondents purporting to be nubile teens trying to make erotic conversations. I got so fed up with that I emailed someone in police criminal intelligence whom I had met through a Compuserve social meet.

Yeah, that pretty much happened to me too. A bit earlier though. I assume it was standard operating procedure. I only complained to my service provider though.

That unpleasant personal experience reminded me of this shameful attempt by the Police to elicit from Colin Stagg a confession to the murder of Rachel Nickell on Wimbledon Commin:

Which was utterly shameful as well.

Bob B

For a league table of 20th century democides, try this:
http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/20TH.HTM

For an account of the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya in the 1950s through into the early 1960s, see the Wikipedia entry for: Mau Mau Uprising. By the account there: “The British possibly killed in excess of 20,000 Mau Mau militants”

I fail to see why the Mau Mau are listed as democides. You claim they killed a respectable number of terrorists. Not random civilians. Not an entire ethnic group.

Nor do I see the relevance to this thread.

By the way, if an undercover policeman meets a random girl in a pub, one unconnected with the group he is working with, and he sleeps with her, has he committed an offense too?

SMFS: “I fail to see why the Mau Mau are listed as democides.”

I made the comparison. In the linked league table of 20th Cemtury Democides, the victims of repression by the colonial administration in Kenya would, presumably, have been included under “Colonialism”.

Try this news report from early June this year:

UK to compensate Kenya’s Mau Mau torture victims

William Hague says payments totalling £19.9m represent ‘full and final settlement’ of action brought by five victims of torture
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/06/uk-compensate-kenya-mau-mau-torture

18. MarkAustin

We need a judiciasl inquiry into this like we need a hole in the head. On past form, all this means is that the matter is kicked into the long grass, while a carefully selected judge comes to a predictably safe (for the establishment) conclusion and the various lawyers fill their boots at the public expense. The only effective inquiry in recent years has been the independent Hillsborough one chaired by James Jonnes—the Bishop of Liverpool.

But how entrapment applies here seems to escape me.

I didn’t say it did. You said, “Do the paedophiles have a right to cry foul because the police lied to them?”

I replied, “Depends on the circumstances, could be entrapment.”


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