Help Get Justice for Spycops Victims in Scotland

Tilly Gifford

Tilly Gifford

The Scottish establishment is inexplicably stalling investigations into political secret police in the country, but you can help.

Most of the known spycops were active in Scotland, including many who had deceived women they spied on into sexual relationships, something the police concede is an abuse of police power and a violation of human rights.

Despite such serious events being well known, the public inquiry into undercover policing is limited to events in England and Wales.

In December 2015 the Scottish government – supported by every party in the Scottish parliament – made a formal request for Scotland to be included in the Inquiry. The Home Office refused.

One would have thought the SNP government in Scotland would have seized on this – English officers committing gross violations of citizens in Scotland, and whilst English and Welsh victims get a full scale Inquiry their Scottish counterparts get nothing.

However, Scottish justice minister Michael Matheson merely commissioned HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland (HMICS) to conduct a review of the matter. As HMICS is effectively a satellite body of the police, we have no faith in its ability to deal with the issue in a credible way.

We met Michael Matheson in May 2017, and he told us he expected the report in September. He assured that that if the review showed serious issues, he would order a proper inquiry.

HMICS did indeed finish their report in September. After preparations, it was delivered to Matheson on 2nd November 2017. Nobody has heard anything about it since.


Meanwhile activist Tilly Gifford, who was targeted by spycops in Scotland, has sought to have a judicial review of the Home Office’s refusal to include Scotland in the public inquiry. The Scottish Legal Aid Board (SLAB) turned her down for funding, saying the case ‘did not have merits’.

This is at odds with a parallel case in Northern Ireland, where a judicial review is going ahead with public funding. Gifford crowdfunded her case and in September 2017 the Court of Session in Edinburgh accepted the merits of the case and granted permission to proceed to a full judicial review.

Gifford reapplied for legal aid but SLAB have moved the goalposts and now say they won’t fund the case unless it has ‘a good probability’ of winning.

This flat-out refusal with changing excuses is, on its own, enough to make one suspect political interference. Taken alongside the Scottish government’s reluctance to have a proper inquiry into spycops’ abuses, it is increasingly hard to come to any other conclusion (even before we consider other allegations of political interference in Scottish policing).

This is where you come in. We would like people to write to Scottish justice minister Michael Matheson to conduct an investigation into the decision to deny legal aid in this case, and to table a motion asking for the decision to be overturned.

As Gifford told Bella Caledonia this week:

‘I still don’t know how long I had been followed. I still don’t know who commissioned me as a target. I still don’t know what files are held on me. What I do know is that I was followed on the streets, that they had access to my home, that they could call me on my personal phone from untraceable numbers when they wanted…

‘communities in Wales and England who have suffered extreme abuses have the potential to have light shed on these sexual, emotional and physical violations carried out by the state. Yet, as it stands now, people in Scotland have no such recourse to truth or accountability. There are women who know they were targeted for sexual relationships by undercover operatives in Scotland.’

The Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers have provided an online form and suggested text for you.

Please take a few minutes to add your name to the call and help secure access to justice for Tilly Gifford, that she may then let the country know what counter-democratic abuses have been committed in their name.


4 comments on “Help Get Justice for Spycops Victims in Scotland”

  1. I will contribute through crowdfunding if necessary.

  2. Eric Smiff says:

    The answer to this is that The Guardian got caught up in some class oriented ‘investigation’ and the whole thing is now an embarrassment that everyone wants to forget and cover up.

    Both initial cases involved upper middle class climate ‘protesters’, one in Glasgow, one a Yorkshire spiritual sanctuary infiltrated by police officer Mark Kennedy. If these had been real political activists, the Guardian would have run a mile. They weren’t, they were establishment approved middle class global warming activists.

    1. COPS says:

      Eric, you are entirely wrong. The people who want to forget and cover up are the police who have blocked the legal cases and inquiries at every turn. Nonetheless, a full scale public inquiry is going ahead.

      You have no idea about the socio-economic background of the people you speak of, and indeed the article you link to was written by two women deceived into relationships by Kennedy, not one. He deceived several more, and there were well over a hundred other officers, around two dozen of whom have now been profiled.

      The ‘Yorkshire spiritual sanctuary’ you refer to was merely the land that hosted the 2003 Earth First Summer Gathering, which was Kennedy’s entry point to the movements he infiltrated. He then spent six years infiltratng a wide range of groups and campaigns – from Climate Camp to Antifa in the UK, and others across eleven countries.

      More than 1,000 different campaigns have been spied on since the Sepcial Demonstration Squad was formed in 1968. These include trade unions, black justice campaigns, environmental activists, anti-apartheid, political parties on the far left and far right plus Labour and Green, feminist groups, peace protesters, animal rights, anti-capitalists and many more.

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