STOP THE COVER UP
Tuesday 10 October 2017, 5-7.30pm
Committee Room 12,
House of Commons, London SW1A OAA
“The inquiry needs to be open, transparent and accessible to the public. Nothing less will do. All of us must now act to ensure that it doesn’t slide towards a cover-up.”
– Baroness Doreen Lawrence mother of Stephen Lawrence and core participant in the Undercover Police Inquiry.
Chair: Naz Shah, MP for Bradford West
Confirmed speakers include:
- Baroness Jenny Jones
- Michael Mansfield QC, eminent Human Rights Lawyer and core participant at the Inquiry
- Imran Khan, Human Rights Solicitor representing some core participants at the Inquiry, including Baroness Lawrence
- Helen Steel, Police Spies Out of Lives and core participant at the Inquiry
- Rob Evans, Journalist at The Guardian and joint author of Undercover: The True Story of Britain’s Secret Police
- Stafford Scott, Tottenham Rights and core participant at the Inquiry
- Suresh Grover, The Monitoring Group and core participant at the Inquiry
The Undercover Policing Inquiry, established by the previous Home Secretary in March 2015 to examine police spying of protest and campaigning groups, is at a crossroads. It can either remain open and transparent or, given the current approach of the new Chair, become secretive and unfair, especially to those directly affected and damaged by unlawful police spying.
Not only has the new Chair made unfair rulings on the identities of some undercover officers but also, in his latest legal note, he has failed to acknowledge and consider the fundamental principles of openness and fairness in a Judicial Inquiry established to allay serious public concerns.
Indeed the decision to establish this Inquiry in the first place was triggered by a combination of damning revelations of an ex-undercover officer turned whistleblower, Peter Francis, and the conclusions of an independent review of his allegations by Mark Ellison QC.
At that time the severity of public concern was acknowledged by the then-Home Secretary when she announced the Inquiry’s terms of reference, describing the undercover policing practices unearthed by Mark Ellison QC as “appalling” and “profoundly disturbing”.
The Ellison review had found the conduct of the Metropolitan Police Service in the context of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry to be of such magnitude that “public disorder of a far more serious kind than anything envisaged by the original undercover deployment could well have resulted.”
There are other consequences too, some of an even more profound nature. Surely even the Metropolitan Police couldn’t justify the ‘unwitting’ nature of institutional racism when they deliberately deployed HN81 (identity number of a SDS police officer) to spy on the Lawrence family and campaign before and during the entire duration of the public Inquiry.
HN81 is known to have provided personal and campaigning information relating to the Lawrence family to a senior member of the Metropolitan Police’s Review team established to submit its response to the McPherson Inquiry. Shamefully, but not unsurprisingly, the Metropolitan Police now want this Inquiry to conduct a secret hearing on the identity of HN81 so that neither his real or covert name can be revealed to the affected core participants.
There are other alarm bells ringing too. Since its inception, over three years ago, it is still stuck at the preliminary stage due to the Metropolitan Police’s obstruction tactics. The delay has had an adverse impact on core participants affected by undercover policing who still haven’t received their police files and remain in the dark on the identities of officers who spied on them. The delay also means that we are two years behind schedule, and as a consequence, are unlikely to hear evidence until the middle of 2019.
The purpose of the meeting is not only to stop the slide towards a cover up in this Inquiry but also discuss the wider consequences for other Inquiries such as those established around the Grenfell Tower fire this year. Both these Inquires need to be open, transparent and accessible to the public in order to deliver real justice for the victims.
Please note that the meeting will start promptly at 5.15pm.
Please allow 30 minutes for security to enter the House of Commons.
If you wish to attend the meeting, please fill in the Eventbrite form and your booking will be confirmed by email.
The meeting has been jointly organised by The Monitoring Group and Black & Asian Justice Campaigns spied upon by undercover policing. Please continue to check our website (www.tmg-uk.org) for updates and confirmed speakers.