A new member of Britain’s political secret police has been named. On 5th October, the Undercover Policing Inquiry released the cover name William Paul ‘Bill’ Lewis, who was undercover in the Special Demonstration Squad 1968-1969.
The announcement follows the Met’s blanket application to keep undercover officers’ names – real and fake – secret.
The inquiry is working through the list of names and said in August that it was minded to release the cover name – but not the real name – of this officer. The Met then withdrew their application to keep it secret.
The fake name is about all we have. The inquiry doesn’t even tell us which groups he actively infiltrated, only that
He may have been encountered by individuals involved with the International Marxist Group or the Vietnam Solidarity Campaign in London at that time.
Whilst any information is better than none, this announcement doesn’t move us onward. To understand what these disgraced units did, we need to hear from those who witnessed it.
We need the list of cover names used by officers and the list of over 1,000 groups that they spied on so that the activists may be contacted and speak about what they saw. Until this happens the inquiry cannot begin to do its allotted task.
At a preliminary hearing on 1st November the Inquiry Chair Sir John Mitting is going to ‘make a statement on the future conduct of the Inquiry’. It’s not clear exactly what this means, but his recent compliance with much of the Met’s desire for secrecy does not give cause for great optimism.
We now have details on 24 of 144 undercover officers. ‘Bill Lewis’ is the first new one identified in three months, and even then in such scant form as to be practically useless. This glacial pace, driven by the Met’s stonewalling, denies justice to those who have already waited too long.