The Independent Police Complaints Commission announced today that three officers will be investigated over their roles in the Speical Demonstration Squad’s spying on the family of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence.
It follows revelations three months ago in the Ellison Review, confirming police had spied on the family at the time of the 1998 MacPherson Inquiry.
Two of the three officers are now retired. They are Colin Black and Bob Lambert, and they face charges of discreditable conduct.
Lambert is already under scrutiny in many other aspects of the secret policing scandal. As an undercover officer he co-wrote the McLibel leaflet that led to the longest trial in English history at which undercover police involvement was never revealed. He was named in Parliament as the firebomber of a Debenhams store, a charge he has strenuously denied. He fathered a child with one of the activists he targeted and abandoned them both when his deployment ended. He later ran undercover operations, overseeing the deployment of several other exposed controversial officers.
The third officer is Commander Richard Walton. As well as discreditable conduct, he faces allegations of breaches of honesty and integrity.
He was an acting Detective Inspector in 1998, but by this year he had risen to be head of the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command, the unit that has current responsibility for the secret police who would formerly have been employed by the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) or National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU). Walton was moved from the post immediately after the Ellison report was published in March.
Whilst any exposure of wrongdoing and accountability for those culpable is welcome, it cannot be a parcelling off that lets anyone claim the issue has been dealt with. Any findings must be part of the material for one overarching, credible, rigorous, open public inquiry into Britain’s Secret Police.