Earlier this year the Ellison report found that Britain’s secret police unit the Special Demonstration Squad had spied on the family of Stephen Lawrence. They have subsequently admitted spying on another 17 similar family justice campaigns.
One was that of Ricky Reel, found dead after a racially motivated attack in October 1997.
His mother Sukhdev launched a petition that has already had over 75,000 signatures. She said:
My son Ricky was just 20 years-old when he was found dead in the River Thames after being racially abused by two men. The police said that they were never able to establish exactly how he died, that it must have been an accident. We spent years pushing for a proper investigation, to get justice for our son. We’ve now found out that because we were questioning their investigations, they spied on us.
There are no words to explain the pain me and my family were feeling, a time when we needed to be left alone to grieve for our son. We thought the police would be on our side and help our grief by finding out the truth.
We know that it wasn’t just us. Other grieving families who were seeking justice after being let down by the police were also spied on. These include the families of Stephen Lawrence, Cherry Groce, Rolan Adams, Michael Menson, Joy Gardner, Jean Charles de Menezes, Harry Stanley and many more. All of these families were spied on because they were pushing for the police to investigate the murder or suspicious deaths of loved ones.
It is devastating to feel betrayed by the people you are expected to trust. Police spy on criminals, what crime did we commit?
We have no faith or trust left in the police. In March this year, the Home Secretary Theresa May announced that there will be a Judge led Public Inquiry into undercover policing but this will not take place for another year, maybe after the next election when we may even have a new government.
I’m calling on the Home Secretary to immediately:
1. Seek a public apology from the Metropolitan Police Commissioner to all the families affected by police spying and take action against police officers for any wrong doing
2. Assure us that that the family justice campaigns would be consulted when drawing the terms of reference for the Public Inquiry into undercover policing
3. Assure us that affected families will be provided with legal aid so that they can be properly legally represented at the Public Inquiry
4. Assure us that the practice of police “spying” of family justice campaigns has stopped”
- Sukhdev Reel, mother of Ricky Reel
- John McDonnell MP for Hayes & Harlington
- Stafford Scott, Tottenham Rights
- Suresh Grover, The Monitoring Group
- Helen Steel, one of the women deceived into a relationship by an undercover police officer
- Liz Fekete, Institute of Race Relations
New Scotland Yard
London SW1H 0BG