Official: Rod Richardson was a Spycop
It’s official – Rod Richardson was an undercover police officer. His real name is still unknown – he stole the identity of a boy who died as a baby – but it’s no longer disputed that he was with the National Public Order Intelligence Unit.
He was one of the unit’s first officers, infiltrating anti-capitalist, anti-fascist and environmental groups in London and Nottigham from 1999 to 2003, when he was replaced by Mark Kennedy.
The Pitchford inquiry into undercover policing announced today that there will be no application to withhold his cover identity from their forthcoming proceedings, though he will be applying for anonymity for his real identity.
This comes less than a month after the Inquiry confirmed the officers known as Marco Jacobs and Carlo Neri were spycops.
Whilst this is not a bad thing, it is not to be celebrated. It is merely telling us what we already know. Richardson was unmasked by activists he spied on nearly four years ago.
Furthermore, the only reason we know these men were spycops is because their targets investigated and exposed them – a practice criticised by the inquiry and thunderously condemned by the Metropolitan Police.
We should remember that the state have now confirmed a clutch of officers who were discovered by chance. It might just have easily been any of the other 100+ other spycops who were exposed, and conversely the known officers may well have gone undetected. If that had happened then presumably the Inquiry would be confirming those other identities while the Met claimed that it was vital for the safety of the unknown Neri, Richardson and co not to be exposed.
The fact that officers and their bosses feel that it’s fine for the public to know the cover names absolutely shreds the Met’s waffle about security. It shows that it is safe to release all the cover names, as most of the Inquiry’s core participants have demanded.
The only reason that we are meeting such resistance is because the police don’t want to face the outrage that would erupt if the public knew the true scale of what was done.
These new confirmations also expose the cruelty of the Met hiding behind ‘neither confirm nor deny’, refusing to tell Barbara Shaw, mother of the real Rod Richardson, anything about the state’s theft of her dead son’s identity.
It also makes a mockery of the refusal to confirm the other exposed officers. Several, including John Dines and Mark Jenner, have an even greater body of information in the public domain including their real names. It is insulting and farcical for the police to refuse to admit what everyone has known for years.
As we have amply demonstrated, the ‘policy’ of Neither Confirm Nor Deny is merely a tactic used when it suits their desire to avoid accountability. It’s past time for it to end.
Today’s admission does not give us any satisfaction. Instead, it galvanises our anger at years of stonewalling by the police, compounding their damage with a gruelling second injustice against people they abused.
The unconvincing excuses are running out. Everyone who was targeted by these disgraced counter-democratic secret police has a right to know. Every family whose dead child’s identity was stolen by them has a right to know. They always have had. The time has come.