Pressure Intensifies on Inquiry to Include Scotland
The Pitchford public inquiry into undercover policing is still limbering up and defining its terms, so it’s unclear how trustworthy it will be. One of the major sticking points is that it is limited to deeds done by officers of English and Welsh forces whilst in England and Wales.
The 13 known officers – less than 10% of the true total – worked in 17 other countries. Most of them worked in Scotland. When we say “worked”, we mean doing what the Metropolitan Police themselves describe as being
a violation of human rights, an abuse of police power… abusive, deceitful, manipulative and wrong.
If this is what we know already, we can be sure there is more to come. To underline that point, the officer newly exposed last week, Carlo Neri, was also active in Scotland.
Earlier this month the Scottish Parliament held a debate on undercover policing and there was cross-party support for the Scottish government’s official demand to be included in the Pitchford Inquiry.
On 17 January it was reported that the Home Office is arranging to have talks with the Scottish government about their country’s inclusion.
But only four days earlier the Home Office told COPS they had no plans to include Scotland.
At this stage the Inquiry is receiving evidence from as wide a range of persons who can assist with its terms of reference as possible. The inquiry team are interested in the whole story and are bound to encourage those coming forward to provide a complete picture when submitting their evidence.
The terms of reference as drafted are, we are advised, already eliciting a significant volume of material for consideration.
The Home Secretary is not minded to expand the terms of reference at this time.
Lindsay Davies from COPS responded in today’s Sunday Mail
If the inquiry really wants the whole story, then it can’t be shackled by Theresa May.
It’s encouraging that the inquiry is getting a lot of evidence already but it’s a ludicrous excuse for ignoring such a sustained, key part of what these disgraced officers did. If they haven’t got enough staff to do the job properly they should get them, rather than ignoring a significant part of the task at hand.
No court would be allowed to exclude vital evidence this way and, as the Met have admitted officers abused citizens, this should be taken just as seriously.
People in Scotland and elsewhere deserve truth and justice every bit as much as those in England and Wales.
Nonetheless, the Home Office reiterated their resistance to the Sunday Herald this week.
But with a range of politicians from numerous parties and none, joined this week by trade union officials, all committed to securing the truth for Scotland the pressure is only going to increase. The Scottish government should have the confidence to be robust and insistent at the forthcoming talks.