Police Admit Liability But Not The Truth
In the wake of revelations of Britain’s political secret police units destroying files that incriminate them, last Friday COPS went to Scotland Yard and demanded that they stop the shredding and release the files.
The only way we will ever know the truth is if those who were spied on come forward. For that, we need disclosure of the list of ‘cover names’ used by officers and the list of groups targeted.
The forthcoming public inquiry is relying on the police to be archivists of their own damning files. The Undercover Research Group, who did such astonishing work this week exposing officer Carlo Neri, called for the ‘domestic extremist’ database unit to be suspended to protect the files.
Later the same day there was another demonstration outside the High Court ahead of the latest hearing in the case of Kate Wilson, who is bringing action after being deceived into a relationship by Mark Kennedy.
Like so many campaigners, Wilson has been subjected to a double injustice. Firstly, there was what the state did to her and then there was the gruelling ordeal of years of blatant obstructions and chicanery to obstruct her quest for the truth.
The police said the relationships weren’t authorised, they were the fault of Kennedy himself, so she shouldn’t sue the police as a body. Then they said the relationships were authorised after all so they would have to go to a secret tribunal where neither she nor her lawyers were allowed.
On Friday, after more than four years, the police finally withdrew their defence and admitted liability. But Wilson does not accept that as the end of it – it still doesn’t actually tell us who was liable. Who authorised it, why, and who else knew and approved it?
Furthermore, is it continuing? Certainly, the surveillance of Kate Wilson did not end when she split up with Mark Kennedy in 2005. Less than a year ago, she found a tracking device on her car.
She gave a powerful and moving interview on the Today Programme and also gave her analysis of the hearing.
The police had already unequivocally accepted that the relationships were wrong. It is now clear that wrongdoing goes far beyond the individual undercover officers. Yet we are denied access to any information about the extent of the intrusion into our lives, who knew and how far up the hierarchy it went.
The police’s decision not to defend the claim is clearly motivated by a determination to avoid disclosure of documents relating to the undercover operations, at any cost. Alongside recent revelations that they are unlawfully destroying files, it makes you wonder what further horrors they are really trying to hide.
How many more women may have been affected by these abuses? How many more children may have been fathered by these undercover officers? It is clear the police are not going to come clean. The only way there can be real justice is if the Inquiry releases the cover names and opens the files so that these women can come forward themselves.
Just like the refusal to tell people they were spied on, and our reliance on volunteer researchers to do the digging, the police’s stonewalling of Kate Wilson shows that they are not interested in admitting the truth, let alone learning from it. Instead, despite knowing that there is still more to come than has been revealed, they are closing ranks around their abusers, putting their fingers in their ears and singing lalalala.
But the years of mounting evidence, the unrelenting determination of the swathes of people affected and the groundswell of public outrage are combining to create a pressure that cannot be resisted much longer. Stop the shredding. Publish the names. Release the files.
Kate Wilson gives her first UK public talk about her experience at our public meeting in London on Thursday. She will be alongside:
- Stafford Scott, race advocacy worker at The Monitoring Group and former co-ordinator of the Broadwater Farm Defence Campaign
- Janet Alder, who has been repeatedly targeted by spycops in her campaign for justice for her brother Christopher, killed by police in 1998
- Jules Carey, lawyer who represented Ian Tomlinson’s family and now represents several women deceived into relationships with spycops