The Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance exists to help co-ordinate, publicise and support the quest for justice for people affected by political undercover police spying and to ensure such abuses do not continue.
A swathe of campaigns and individuals have been targeted by Britain’s secret police for decades, undermining efforts for social justice that should be welcomed in a democratic society. Everyone has the right to participate in the struggle for social and environmental justice, without fear of persecution, objectification, or interference in their lives. However, citizens have been spied on and psychologically and sexually abused by officers for being part of, or simply knowing people who were part of, such campaigns.
– the spying on families, friends, witnesses and campaigners seeking truth and justice over the deaths of loved ones, such as the Lawrences and the associated institutional racism
– the gross intrusion of undercover officers forming intimate and sexual relationships whilst in their undercover persona and the associated institutional sexism
– the use of the identities of dead children by undercover officers
– police aiding the illegal blacklisting of trade union members and political activists, and passing information on individuals to private investigators and corporations
– the large number of wrongful convictions brought about by misconduct of police and prosecutors
– the use of ‘Neither Confirm Nor Deny’ as a tactic to avoid accountability
– the creations of police files on solicitors representing protestors
We have no confidence that these practices have stopped.
We have no faith in any of the ongoing police inquiries or reports, including Operation Herne, nor those from the satellite bodies such as the Independent Police Complaints Commission or Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary. Several have already been thoroughly discredited.
A public inquiry has been announced; it must be transparent, robust and independent. It should happen without delay rather than waiting for the raft of police investigations to be completed. To ensure it is credible the Minister and the Chair of the Inquiry should meet with those affected and act on their suggestions and concerns. Senior police officers past and present, especially former Met Commissioners and Special Branch Commanders since 1968, must be held to account for any wrong doing attributed to the units under their command.
We call for:
An end to spying on social justice and environmental campaigns and on families, friends, witnesses and campaigners seeking truth and justice over the death of loved ones
The outlawing of intimate and sexual relationships by police officers whilst in their undercover persona
An end to the use of ‘Neither Confirm Nor Deny’ to cover up these abuses
Support and encouragement for police whistleblowers
Protective measures to prevent serving and retired intelligence gathering officers passing information to private sector corporations and investigators
A thorough, transparent independent inquiry. It should supersede the self-investigations such as Operation Herne which should be scrapped immediately
The abolition of the Investigatory Powers Tribunal and its secret trials without right of appeal
Openness and transparency about the past; with those spied on by the political policing units informed and given access to their files; and information provided to the families of deceased children whose identities were used by undercover officers
A public apology from the police to all those affected.
– January 2015
The above text is on our double sided A4 leaflet [PDF]
See here for the original campaign statement from autumn 2013