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Follow the Spycops Across Borders

Andrej Hunko's letter to Theresa May

Andrej Hunko’s letter to Theresa May

German MP Andrej Hunko, who has taken great interest in Mark Kennedy’s deployment in Germany, has written to the Home Secretary insisting that the forthcoming inquiry into undercover police includes UK officers’ actions abroad.

It comes after May’s announcement last week which, whilst scant on detail, did specify that it will cover “operations conducted by English and Welsh police forces in England and Wales”.

It’s known that officers from the political police units have been going abroad for about twenty years. Conversely, their foreign counterparts work over here.

Thanks to Hunko’s tenacious research, it has been established that Berlin police sent five undercover officers to the anti-G8 protests in Scotland in 2005. It’s not clear how many came from elsewhere in Germany or other countries. These were in addition to the UK officers there, which included Mark Kennedy and Lynn Watson.

A report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) confirmed that Kennedy worked in 14 countries. This isn’t quite the 22 he claims, but whichever is true, it is hugely significant.

Kennedy had sexual relationships whilst undercover in Germany, which is strictly forbidden in that country. Hunko’s letter continues,


German parliamentarian Hans-Christian Stroebele said in the press that Kennedy is known to have played a part in at least three minor crimes in Germany, something that a German undercover agent is not permitted to do.

German MP Ulla Jelpke further proclaimed, ‘the suspicion that Kennedy was acting as an agent provocateur in these crimes still cannot be ruled out’

The extensive information Hunko has prised from the German authorities (32 page PDF) includes the fact that Kennedy was paid by German police whilst working there.

Hunko has previously revealed that

Foreign police officers must obtain authorisation before entering the territory of a sovereign state. They must not commit any criminal offences during their stay. Kennedy, however, sought to impress activists in Berlin by setting fire to a refuse container. Arrested by the police, he even concealed his true identity from the public prosecutor. This is illegal, as the Federal Government has indicated now.

Kennedy was a serving Met officer, hired out to use the identity and methods the Met trained him in. The idea that this bears no relevance to the subject of the inquiry is absurd.

Theresa May’s announcement clearly said

The inquiry’s investigation will include, but not be limited to, the undercover operations of the Special Demonstration Squad and the National Public Order Intelligence Unit

If it is to do that, it must look at how the whole thing worked, it cannot be geographically selective. If this embarrasses the British establishment in the eyes of other countries, so be it. It may uncover more layers to the structure; this, too, is surely one of the points of having the inquiry in the first place.

Andrej Hunko

Andrej Hunko

Hunko’s questions exposed the hitherto unknown European Co-ordination Group on Undercover Activities that organises and focuses undercover work. Established in the 1980s, it is comprised of all EU member states and other countries such as the USA, Israel, South Africa and New Zealand, plus selected private companies. It meets irregularly and says it doesn’t keep minutes. According to the German government, the UK and Germany are the trailblazers in the group.

Far from the undercover scandal being centred on a rogue officer or a rogue unit, the UK’s tactics increasingly appear to be part of a concerted effort in which governments and corporations act together across borders.

It is notable that the aforementioned 2005 G8 summit is beyond the proposed scope of the remit, as it took place in Scotland. Yet Kennedy worked for the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU) which a 2003 HMIC report confirmed

performs an intelligence function in relation to politically motivated disorder (not legitimate protests) on behalf of England, Wales and Scotland

If the inquiry excludes Scotland, it excludes part of the NPOIU’s remit.

After his police contract ended, Kennedy stayed in the same community of activists, under the same Met-created identity, using the same methods to spy on them, working for a company set up and run by Rod Leeming, another ex-political police Met officer.

As we’ve previously described, this was not an isolated instance, the entwining of political police and their private counterparts has been going on for decades, and it would be ludicrous to exclude this overlap from the inquiry.

We can presume the German police paid the NPOIU for the use of their officer Mark Kennedy. There can be no claiming that the Met were not responsible, nor that counter-democratic activity and personal abuse by Met officers are somehow insignificant if done elsewhere or with a different institution signing the paycheque.

The dogged persistence of Hunko (assisted by the German government’s more open approach to MPs asking about the subject) means there is a formidable body of evidence about an NPOIU officer’s undercover activity, including the commission of crimes and sexual abuse. This must not be excluded from the inquiry.

Furthermore, if that is what we have about one officer, in one of his 14 countries, what else is there to uncover? For the inquiry to be credible, it must investigate all significant elements of the work of the political policing units.

Home Secretary Announces Terms of Undercover Police Inquiry

Lord Justice Pitchford

Lord Justice Pitchford

We welcome the Home Secretary keeping up the pace on the pending Pitchford inquiry into undercover policing, today making an announcement on its terms of reference.

Today’s statement is too vague to properly appraise, leaving lots of space for what ‘the inquiry chairman shall judge appropriate’.

It is key that Lord Justice Pitchford does not merely hear testimony from people who were targeted. He needs to recognise that every one of these key things was revealed after tenacious work by activists and journalists, not one came from the dozens of official inquiries and panels that have been set up to investigate:

– More than a dozen undercover officers have been exposed and their abuses and actions as agents provocateur documented.

– More than 50 miscarriages of justice have been identified and convictions quashed.

– An illegal construction industry blacklist used by most of the biggest companies to deny work to thousands of politically active people – ably and illegally assisted by police – has been exposed and shut down.

– Dozens of women were psychologically and sexually abused after being deceived into relationships with undercover officers, a practice denounced as ‘grossly unprofessional’ by senior police themselves.

– The tactic of stealing dead children’s identities was mandatory in the Special Demonstration Squad until the mid 1990s and the Home Affairs Select Committee has demanded that all affected families be told, a call echoed this week by Doreen Lawrence. The only ones it has happened to are Rod Richardson and John Barker‘s families after they were traced by activists that the officers had lived with.


The fact that victims had to research and reveal the truth themselves mirrors the work of many racial justice campaigns who were spied on, forensically compiling the truth of events.

In this victim/perpetrator situation, the people affected need to be given a formally empowered position at the inquiry, such as an oversight panel of representatives. These same people, responsible for investigations that brought the whole issue to light, should be trusted to help steer us to the truth, rather than the vested interests or the authors of assorted whitewashes at the police and satellite bodies.

Additionally, there has been an invaluable contribution from the whistleblower officer Peter Francis. Dozens of family and racial justice campaigns were spied on and actively undermined. Without Francis’ brave testimony, this would still be unknown. These units tried their best to have their very existence kept secret, documentation is minimal and so we are reliant on those involved stepping forward.

Lord Justice Pitchford should give assurance and encouragement to Francis and others who come forward, and this should begin with immunity from prosecution under the Official Secrets Act.


Worryingly, the government’s terms say Pitchford will ‘inquire into and report on undercover police operations’, only later saying that the scope


will include, but not be limited to, whether and to what purpose, extent and effect undercover police operations have targeted political and social justice campaigners.


When the inquiry was announced a year ago, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary was simultaneously tasked to produce a report on undercover policing. The doorstep-sized result was as useless as it was large. Over 200 pages on undercover policing in the broadest sense, barely touching on the political policing that is the substance of the scandal.

Today’s announcement gives opportunity for the same distraction tactic to be used. The police may talk at length about infiltrating gangs of people traffickers and paedophiles to public acclaim, and use that glow of approval to blind people from seeing the vast, murky expanse of the counter-democratic work and personal abuse that police have been systematically engaged in.

Despite the breadth of space left by the lack of specifics in the announcement, it is also of serious concern that there is a geographical limit that would appear to exclude several issues we mentioned in our draft terms of reference.


The inquiry will not examine undercover or covert operations conducted by any body other than an English or Welsh police force


It is well established that these officers work internationally. Peter Francis did so more than 20 years ago. Mark Kennedy worked in 14 countries. These actions, which involved criminal behaviour and human rights abuses, were integral to his deployment, and presumably that of other officers deployed abroad.

By the same token, foreign spies paid by English and Welsh police, or working with their blessing, should not be excluded.


Some aspects of the breadth are heartening to see, especially the specification that


The inquiry’s investigation will include, but not be limited to, the undercover operations of the Special Demonstration Squad and the National Public Order Intelligence Unit.


Whilst these two units were at the core and must be the focus, there were other allied units such as the corporate assistance National Extremism Tactical Co-ordination Unit who are known to have given high level briefings to the construction industry blacklisters. Additionally, the IPCC has conceded that every constabulary’s Special Branch is likely to have illegally supplied the blacklist, not just the spy units.

Furthermore, it’s unclear if the political spying and intimidation of bereaved justice campaigners such as Janet Alder and the Hillsborough families was done by the named units. It seems more likely that it was their local Special Branch, yet they are as serious as many cases of abuse by the Met’s spies and should be examined accordingly. Additionally, in family justice campaigns, family liaison officers and witness support officers were key to the spying and their involvement needs to be examined.

Beyond that, it’s clear that the same political and personal abuses occur in corporate spying, an industry largely populated by former police officers and utterly – often illegally – reliant on contacts within the force. Conversely, police use public resources (again, often illegally) to assist companies targeted by campaigners. To only look at what was done under the auspices of the police is to ignore a sizeable, essential part of the role of political policing. Pitchford must examine it all.

It it to be hoped that when Lord Justice Pitchford fleshes out his terms of reference we will see these issues addressed and his inquiry will deliver the answers that justice demands.



The Monitoring Group has supported over 100 family and community justice campaigns, mostly for people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds, including several that were spied on and undermined by police. Their response to the announcement is here.

Police Spies Out of Lives speaks for eight women bringing legal cases after having relationships with undercover officers from the SDS and NPOIU. Their response is here.

Dave Smith and Phil Chamberlain are trade union activists and authors of the Blacklisted book. Their response is here.

Our draft terms for the public enquiry, drawn up in consultation with numerous people and groups who were spied on as well as legal representatives, are here.




Our Draft Terms for Public Inquiry

Formed in late 2013, the Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance (COPS) is a campaign in its own right and also something of an umbrella group for people targeted by the political undercover police units.

Participants include:

– Members of environmental groups who were spied on, including people who exposed officers

– Members of justice campaigns for those who died at the hands of police who were spied on

– Members of anti-racist groups who were spied on

– Members of political parties who were spied on, including the Socialist Workers Party and Socialist Party (formerly Militant Labour)

– People who were on the Consulting Association’s construction industry blacklist, including workers and ‘greenlist’ environmentalists whose files contained details that are likely to have come from police

– Lawyers representing what is, as far as we know, everyone bringing a case for personal relationships with undercover officers

– Lawyers representing a large number of people whose convictions were a miscarriage of justice due to the undisclosed evidence of undercover officers

– Lawyers representing individuals, families and organisations involved in justice campaigns surrounding deaths in custody and/or police misconduct

– Lawyers representing a family whose dead child’s identity was stolen by an undercover officer

– Lawyers representing people on the construction industry blacklist


To inquire into, and make recommendations about, the practices, ethics, governance and impact of undercover policing in the UK between 1968 and 2014, and the Human Rights implications of the same, with special reference to the oversight, governance and conduct of undercover officers in the Special Demonstration Squad, the National Public Order Intelligence Unit, the National Extremism Tactical Co-ordination Unit (NETCU) and other political policing units, in particular:

1. The activities of undercover officers and informants in political/social justice campaigns, including:
a) The forming of intimate and sexual relationships with people in or associated with target campaign groups and the effects of those relationships on those involved and their families and close friends;
b) The fathering of children as a consequence of forming such relationships and the long term implications for the mother, children and others.
c) The disproportionate effect on women of the tactics used and the extent to which this reflects individual and/or institutionalised sexism.
d) Issues raised by undercover officers living in the homes of political activists.
e) The spying on and disruption of Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and other activists involved in political campaigns, including the use of informants.
f) The potential impact of undercover officers shaping, disrupting or undermining political activity, including acting as agent provocateurs.
g) The sharing of information between police and private investigators or other companies.
h) The role of undercover officers in the exchange of information about construction workers and political and Trade Union activists with private companies including the Consulting Association, and the creation of databases about individuals.
i) The role of UK undercover officers in political protests or meetings abroad.
j) The use of the identities of dead children by undercover officers.
k) The ongoing risks to members of the public during and after the deployment ends, arising from.
i) the psychological damage caused to undercover officers by lengthy periods of deployment and living with dual identities.
ii) the officers influence on and intimate knowledge of those they have been monitoring.

2. The activities of undercover officers, informants and victim/family liaison/witness support and protection officers in relation to:
a) the investigations into the murder of Stephen Lawrence and the attack on Duwayne Brooks and subsequent related inquiries.
b) those bereaved at the hands of the police and family support campaigns.
c) those challenging the efficacy of police investigations eg. in relation to the deaths or assaults of loved ones.

3. Implications for the Justice system of the activities of undercover officers including:
a) failures to disclose evidence about undercover work to prosecution, Courts or parties; disclosure failures in civil cases; failure to disclose to the Macpherson and other Inquiries.
b) undercover officers and informants committing criminal offences or inciting others to do so.
c) undercover officers participating in the criminal justice system (as person arrested, defendant or witness) using a false identity.
d) breaches of legal professional privilege by undercover officers, and the improper collection and retention of information about lawyers acting for protestors or campaigners.
e) decision making and role of the Crown Prosecution Service in respect of the activities of undercover officers.

4. To inquire into the efficacy of systems for supervising, authorising, debriefing and decision-making in relation to undercover policing, including those operated by the MPS, ACPO, the Home Office, and international cooperation between states, and the extent to which governance systems and policies caused, obfuscated or failed to prevent any abuses.

5. To inquire into the extent to which the current legal framework and policies governing authorisation of, oversight of and complaints about undercover police operations has failed, including how the use of “Neither Confirm Nor Deny” prevents scrutiny of abusive and / or potentially unlawful police activity and of accountability relating to the same.

6. And to make recommendations regarding:
a) The appropriateness of undercover policing in social justice and political campaign groups.
b) The conduct of, oversight of and ethical framework for any future undercover police work to safeguard the rights of individuals and ensure the highest professional and ethical standards and compliance with equalities legislation.
c) Changes to the legal and policy framework governing undercover policing, particularly the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act and the operation of the Investigatory Powers Tribunal.
d) Changes to the official status and accountability of international policing networks such as the European Co-operation Group on Undercover Activities.

Suing Private Spycops

Frankenstein's monsterA woman who was Mark Kennedy’s partner in 2010 after he left the police is suing Global Open, the private spy firm he worked for.

Global Open was set up in 2001 by Rod Leeming, the former Special Branch officer who ran the Animal Rights National Index database before going private to do basically the same thing (company profile here by the excellent Undercover Research Group).

Kennedy’s contract with the police formally ended in early 2010. He was immediately hired by Global Open, and at the same time actively targeted the woman (who has been granted legal anonymity for the case) and began a relationship with her.

He continued to live among the same activist community he had spied on, still using his police-fabricated identity of Mark Stone. He went to several animal rights gatherings across Europe in the summer of 2010. If he’d had the nouse to legally change his name to Mark Stone his identity documents would have been in the ‘right’ name and he may still have been spying today – and you would not be reading this.


In October 2010 he was exposed by activists including his long-term partner. Within hours he went to his other partner’s house and told her what had happened. She was devastated. The case she is now bringing mirrors that of around a dozen others who are suing (or have sued) the police for the systematic use of psychologically and sexually abusive relationships.

Like those cases, this one is being brought against the employer rather than the individual officer. The managers either deployed officers to use these tactics, in which case they are directly culpable, or else all these officers separately decided to do the same thing, in which case managers were negligent for not preventing or ending it.

Whilst it would presumably have little legal traction, the police must also bear a serious measure of moral responsibility for Kennedy’s post-police actions in 2010. Having trained him into that one mode of being for many years then withdrawn him with little notice or support, it is hardly surprising that he continued. Frankenstein’s monster may have terrorised the villagers but it was Dr Frankenstein who built it and failed to keep it from its rampage.


This new case is yet another ray of light on the murky, unregulated world of corporate spying and its tight interweaving with parallel police units. The fact that Special Branch officers take their years of training and contacts to go and do the same job for private profit doesn’t merely raise ethical issues. It raises legal ones too.

The construction industry blacklist was routinely – illegally – given information on political activists by Special Branch officers across the country. Despite the blacklisters’ work being illegal, they had high-level meetings with Britain’s political secret police, including a powerpoint presentation from DCI Gordon Mills, the man who helmed the National Extremism Tactical Co-ordination Unit.

The McLibel trial exposed the fact that the entirety of McDonald’s security department were ex-police and that there was an open two-way flow of information between police and private spies. This is not officers upholding the law. This is officers breaking the law to uphold something that they consider more important.


How many other political secret police officers continued the same role for a private paymaster, as Kennedy did? The fact that Global Open hired him as he was leaving the police suggests either they had inside information and knew he was becoming available, or else Global Open is known to the secret police as the place to go on to when their contract ends.

We know the names of less than 10% of the officers who worked for the disgraced political units since the Special Demonstration Squad was set up in 1968. Can we really believe that Kennedy was the first one to continue living under the same persona? Or is he just the first one exposed?


The revolving door between undercover political police and the even less regulated world of private spying means the two groups cannot be separated. As Mark Kennedy proved, the same damage is done for the same reasons, often by the same people, with support from both sectors, irrespective of who signs the cheque.

If the forthcoming public inquiry is to be comprehensive and credible it must examine these documented instances and structural connections, and it must expose more. Police and private political spying are not two worlds, they are one.