The Pitchford Inquiry into undercover policing is going to make a ruling on disclosure of evidence and protection of identity.
The police – supported by the Home Office and Cabinet Office – have said they want to have large parts of this “public” inquiry held in secret and intend to use their “Neither Confirm Nor Deny” approach.
This has been a tool they have used to obstruct the fight for truth from women who were deceived into relationships by undercover officers. They only invented this hardline policy six months after the women launched their legal case.
It is the police characteristically failing to admit wrongdoing, let alone sanction those who did it. It results in the absurdity of police refusing to confirm whether people like Mark Kennedy and Bob Lambert were ever undercover officers.
We only have details on 14 officers from Britain’s political secret police – 90% of them are still unknown. The only way we will know what those officers did is if the people they spied on tell their stories and, in turn, the only way for that to happen is if they are told they were targeted.
The inquiry cannot be credible if it hides 90% of the truth. It must release the names of officers. Those who were spied on should see their files to discover what took place and why, rather than take the word of the liars who abused them.
The inquiry has designated 179 people targeted by the 14 known officers as ‘core participants’, and 133 of them have called for the release of the officers’ cover names. For many, this issue is the test of whether the Inquiry is serious or a whitewash.
There will be a demonstration outside the High Court at 9am on Tuesday 22nd March, ahead of the first day of the Pitchford Inquiry’s hearing. Let’s make it clear; without truth there cannot be justice.