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Undercover Police Inquiry: Stop the cover up

Stop The Cover Up graphic

STOP THE COVER UP

Parliamentary Meeting

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:

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.

Subversion, sabotage and spying: Political policing and racism in the UK

The Monitoring Group logoThe full line up and timetable of April’s crucial spycops conference has been released.

Building on a hugely successful conference in 2015,  The Monitoring Group and the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies have teamed up again to produce an impressive line up of speakers to examine the role and impact of undercover policing and the surveillance of protest groups and ‘suspect communities’.

Hosted by London South Bank University School of Law & Social Sciences, the conference is supported by Imran Khan and Partners and Tottenham Rights.

About the conference

Government policy continues to invent and punish ‘suspect and targeted communities’ and frustrate genuine attempts to hold its agencies to account. This event will examine the history and disastrous impact of the policing of social and justice movements. It will open a dialogue on ‘accountability’ so that a long-awaited ‘momentum for change’ can be driven by those directly affected by disproportionality and discrimination.

In light of the upcoming Undercover Policing Inquiry the conference will seek to develop a strategic alliance between those directly affected by undercover policing (so far 170+ non-state individuals have been granted core participant status at the Inquiry), civil society and the public so that the Inquiry adopts a broader, open and more rigorous approach.

Register now

Registrations are now open. Please help spread the word about the conference via your networks, using this link.

Agenda and Speakers

Saturday: Policing of black, asian and ‘suspect communities’ – spying, lying, dying and racism

09.30   Registration

10.00   Welcome

10.15   Political policing: Setting the context — Mark McGovern, Tony Bunyan, Colin Prescod

11.15   Question and answer session

11.30   Break

11.45   Policing of ‘suspect communities’  —  Paddy Hill, Salma Yaqoob (TBC), Patrick Williams, Gareth Peirce, and John McDonnell MP, the Shadow Chancellor

12.45   Question and answer session

12.55   Introduction to the workshop leaders

13.00   Lunch

13.45   Workshops

Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance, Undercover Research Group, Blacklisted Trade Unionists, Black Justice Campaigns; JENGbA

14.45   From ‘suspect communities’ to targeting of campaigns against injustice – Suresh Grover and Deborah Coles

15.15   Question and answer session

15.30   Break

15.45   Why the Undercover Policing Inquiry is important –  Baroness Doreen Lawrence, Imran Khan, Kate Wilson, Stafford Scott

16.45   Question and answer session

17.00   Close

Sunday: Spycops and the Undercover Policing Inquiry – is accountability possible or a pipe dream?

10.00   Registration

10.30   History of the Special Demonstration Squad and Spycops, Hearne and Ellison – Rob Evans

10.50   Question and answer session

11.00   Spycops – The spied upon speak out –  Baroness Jenny Jones, Piers Corbyn, Helen Steel, Dave Smith, John Monerville, Mark Wadsworth

12.00   Question and answer session

12.30   Spycops – the hidden voices –  Janet Alder, Alastair Morgan

13.00   Lunch

The post lunch session will focus on the challenges posed by the Undercover Policing Inquiry and how to address them

13.45   Spycops – a voice that should be heard —  Statement from Peter Francis Ex-Special Demonstration Squad

14.00   An overview of the Undercover Policing Inquiry to date

Speakers to be announced

14.30   Holding the Inquiry to account —  Shamik Dutta, Courtenay Griffiths QC, Imran Khan, Harriet Wistrich, Michael Mansfield QC

15.00   Break

15.15   Workshops on the Undercover Policing Inquiry

Workshops to be announced

16.20   Feedback from workshops

16.45   Conclusions and next steps

17.00   Close

The timetable may be subject to change due to developments around the Inquiry. Delegates will be informed of any changes.

Video: Voices of the Spied On

On 21 January we held a Voices of the Spied On public meeting, and videos of the four panellists’ speeches are now on our Youtube channel.

Janet Alder has been a tireless campaigner for justice for her brother Christopher who was killed by Humberside police in 1998. Police admit repeatedly putting her under surveillance, yet she has been denied ‘core participant’ status at the Pitchford inquiry into undercover policing.

Stafford Scott has been a key figure in numerous black community and family justice campaigns. He was co-ordinator of the Broadwater Farm Defence Campaign and is now race advocacy officer at the Monitoring Group.

The exposure of undercover police adds a new sinister dimension to the state repression he has devoted himself to opposing, with campaigns being infiltrated and undermined by officers.

Kate Wilson is an environmental and social justice activist who was deceived into a long-term relationship by undercover police officer Mark Kennedy. This, her first UK public talk on the subject, came five days after she won a gruelling four year legal battle to have the Metropolitan Police held accountable for Kennedy’s abuse.

Jules Carey is a human rights lawyer at Bindmans of London, representing many of the people targeted by Britain’s political secret police.

His clients include Jacqui, the first case the Met settled with a woman deceived into a relationship by an undercover officer, and other similar clients whose cases are ongoing. He also represents Barbara Shaw, mother of Rod Richardson, a dead child whose identity was stolen by an undercover police officer.

Here he talks about the forthcoming Pitchford Inquiry into undercover policing.

New video: The Public Inquiry Begins

New on our Youtube channel – a short film made by Reel News, shot outside the Royal Courts of Justice on 7 October, just before the first hearing of the public inquiry. Numerous people who were spied on outline their experiences and what they hope to get out of the inquiry.

The hearing [transcript] was to decide on some cases of ‘core participants’ – those ruled to have been so involved in the political policing scandal that they get greater access and representation at the inquiry. Around 400 people have applied of whom around half have been granted core participant status – mostly activists, some campaigns as bodies, a couple of dozen police officers and some state agencies too.

The Undercover Research Group noted its qualms afterwards.