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Category Archives: Cop-Spies & Paid BetrayersImage
So, the other day the owners (that would be various members of the Qatari royal family) of the Shard, a boutique towerblock in Central London notable for its numerous empty luxury apartments, initiated pre-emptive legal action against erstwhile anarchist Ian Bone (and that ever-popular beat combo ‘persons unknown’).
Why? Because the in-his-seventies-but-still-fuckin’-angry Class War founder called for protests against the Shard. He sees it as an example of the gilded skyscrapers increasingly dominating the London skyline, often empty of any actual residents, like enormous rich men’s follies, spunking steel-and-crystal tumescences contemptuously drawing shade over the capital’s poorer denizens. Turns out them vastly wealthy Qatari royal dudes do not have a sense of humour when it comes to shouty anarchists threatening to picket their valuable, shiny metropolitan real estate. Turns out they take it really fucking seriously, in fact.
Apart from the ridiculousness of them thinking even for a minute that they were going to win a propaganda war against Bone (IAN. FUCKING. BONE.), there were some interesting titbits which emerged from news stories about the injunction. Interesting titbits which, one might say, prove somewhat instructive at a time when elsewhere, for example, the judge running the supposedly independent Undercover Policing Inquiry has suggested giving ex-spycops anonymity on the frankly bizarre grounds that married men don’t tell lies; the Scottish Justice Minister has decided not to have a Scottish spycops inquiry because the HMICS police investigation of undercover policing has found no evidence of malfeasance (despite self-limiting its scope to after the Mark Kennedy shitstorm which blew the whole thing wide open); and top Scots cop Phil Gormley (himself sporran-deep in shady spycops shenanigans thanks to his time RUNNING SPECIAL BRANCH) deciding to take the I’m-leaving-before-you-sack-me-oh-is-that-my-pension-thank-you-very-much route to retirement, conveniently sidestepping the numerous investigations into his behaviour.
So anyway, those titbits. First off, the whole harassment-of-Bone shebang was organised by the Shard’s security manager, one André Frank Baker. He contracted a private security company, VSG, to compile a dossier on The Most Dangerous Man In Britain in order to put it before the court as evidence of the threat he and his unruly kind present to innocent empty multi-million pound flats. Currently Team Shard is looking to sting Bone for £525 for the privilege of being injuncted, with that figure only likely to rise.
In case you were wondering why that security manager’s name is familiar, it’s because he’s an ex-Met cop who over the years has popped up everywhere, a contemporary of such luminaries as John Yates (latterly an advisor to the democracy demonstration-crushing Bahraini police) and Bob ‘No Plainclothes Cops Here Honest Guv’ Broadhurst. After not doing very well in the Daniel Morgan or Milly Dowler murder inquiries, ‘Andy’ shifted over to the second-raters of SOCA, and then onto the anti-kiddie porn unit CEOP.
After retirement his attempts at becoming a self-employed security consultant didn’t go so well. How he landed the cushy job of security chief at the Shard isn’t exactly clear, but it wouldn’t be any stranger than career mediocrity Sid Nicholson bagging the post of Head of Security for McDonald’s UK back in the 80s after an unillustrious time spent in the boroughs.
It helps that despite being turned over by Sun and NOTW hacks during the Dowler investigation *coff* *phonehacking* Baker later demonstrated his absolute lack of dignity by praising the Currant Bun, despite him being at (and, indeed, requesting) that awkward meeting between Morgan inquiry detective Dave Cook and Murdoch’s representative on Earth, Rebekah Wade, brokered by Slippery Dick Fedorcio, when Wade tried to deny that News Corp had Cook and his wife Jacqui Hames under surveillance by Southern Investigations-aligned journalists. Zing!
As for the private security company he commissioned the risk assessment of Bone from, VSG, that was a penny-ante little firm of shopping centre woodentops before it teamed up with – wait for it – a catering company. Always more geared towards static guarding than sophisticated investigative work, in 2016 it was boasting how it had secured a contract to operate the national business-facing counter terrorism information campaign Project Griffin… Which is convenient, seeing as how VSG’s head of counter terrorism Ian Mansfield was, err, in charge of Project Griffin whilst at the City of London Police right up until he left for a cushy private sector job!
So what sort of high grade intel did the failed detective-hired mall cop company serve up on Bone?
The VSG report described Class War as “a small but passionate group of leftwing, pro-anarchy activists with a long and proven history of campaigning against ‘the elite’ and other entities associated with wealth or perceived social injustice”.
The report advised the Shard’s owners that if Bone’s protest was allowed to take place it could endure for months and “attract widespread media coverage”. It also warned that activists could use “pyrotechnics and large, offensive banners of a derogatory nature”…
“Class War is a far-left, pro-anarchy, UK-based pseudo-political party, originally borne out of a newspaper established in 1982. The group opposes the ‘ruling elite’ for their exploitation of the poor and the disadvantaged and have recently been involved in campaigns against the demolition of social housing in London to make way for the construction of luxury housing, as well as campaigns against inequality and austerity. Class War vocally supports, and engages in, civil disobedience, violence and anarchy as acceptable methods of pursuing their objectives.”
Wow. Mind blowing – truly exceptional levels of wiki fu going on there.
Still, at least the obscenely rich Shard barons are being cost money. But perhaps VSG should bring on some fresh new talent to reenergise the company.
I hear Phil Gormley is available.
It’s a mansplainer’s world: how Peter Moffatt, Justin Webb & Radio 4 told a pesky #spycop survivor how she could “better understand” her own experience
I’ve not blogged in a while, but sometimes something just happens and you have to get it down.
This morning on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme ‘Alison’, who was preyed upon by Metropolitan Police spycop Mark Jenner for five years using his stolen activist identity ‘Mark Cassidy’, criticised the BBC television drama Undercover.
Here is what she said in the brief, prerecorded segment, as it aired:
I think there are things, in the story that are strong. There’s a different story in real life, and the difference is in the banality, if you like, of our experiences. The real life story is about ordinary women who are standing up against injustice. They’re not top lawyers who go on to become the DPP [Director of Public Prosecutions]. And I think that for it to be authentic and believable it needs to link up with some of the real facts. The departure from so many of the key facts has changed the nature of the story.
In response Today had presenter Justin Webb give a soft soap interview to screenwriter Peter Moffatt. This was the result.
Justin Webb: Peter Moffatt is here, writer of Undercover as well as similar programmes, Criminal Justice, Silk, as well.
Peter Moffatt (screenwriter): Morning.
JW: Have you let her down, and other women who in the same position?
PM: I really hope not, and I really hope that when she watches the second half of the series, when Sophie Okonedo’s character Maya discovers who her husband really is, confronts him with all that he’s done, and the shocking truth contained therein, that she’ll have a different and I hope better perspective on the programme. The great advantage of writing a fictional version of something over a documentary is that I can have my characters do or say whatever I want them to. So it is possible for Sophie Okonedo’s character to confront him, accuse him of, for example, raping her, because she’s consented to having sex with somebody other than the person she thought he was. Which interestingly, for example, is a different point of view compared with the real DPP, who says it isn’t possible to bring criminal charges any of these undercover police officers for rape. My fictional DPP doesn’t agree with that, and puts that directly to the protagonist played by Adrian Lester.
JW: One of the things that ‘Alison’ was saying in that clip is that the real life stories are ordinary women who have to stand up to these things, well, first face up to that they happened, and then try and get some kind of justice. Your one is a top lawyer, and that in itself is inauthentic and doesn’t tell anything like the true story of what happened to these women.
PM: Well we know that Stephen Lawrence’s friends were spied on by the police. We know that Janet Alder, whose brother Christopher died on a police station floor in Humberside, left alone there with his trousers and pants round his knees by a group of police officers who paid no attention to his choking to death, and Janet was spied on, afterwards, by police officers who infiltrated the support groups surrounding the campaign that Janet ran on behalf of her dead brother. And I was interested actually in writing about institutional racism in the 1990s, deaths in police custody, the cover-ups that almost always follow on from deaths of that nature in police custody…
JW: Do you regret meeting ‘Alison’ to discuss it? Might it have been better I suppose in retrospect to read what happened in the papers…
PM: We had one meeting, it became clear to me and I think her that we were after different things. I was very clear that I wanted to describe a character who had been married for twenty years to the same person and then discovers that he’s not who she thinks he is. That isn’t her experience. I wanted to write about somebody, a character, Maya Cobbina, who’s in the heart of public life, who’s making big choices and big decisions that matter, and is being undermined by therefore by the establishment and by the police because they know what she’s thinking.
JW: But can you sympathise with ‘Alison’ and others, who are so desperate to have their story told, and told in a way that feels authentic, that this is naturally a disappointment, what you’ve…
PM: Well, Adrian Lester’s character adopts the identity of a dead child – that’s absolutely accurate, it’s usually the way that real undercover police officers functioned. He lies consistently to her. I’m just glad I got the opportunity in this drama to put Adrian Lester’s character on the spot and ask him how is his conscience to do this? How is it, what is it like to have a child with someone who you’re also spying on? I don’t think Bob Lambert and Mark Kennedy or any of the real undercover police officers are going to be talking in public about how their consciences feel.
JW: And fall in love with them, and that’s the other issue you raise, isn’t it?
PM: Yeah. I think that’s a really…
JW: So I can imagine if I were one of the women I’d be quite, I’d find that a very difficult area to go into and I could see why they find that a very discomforting thing.
PM: I really understand that, I really understand that, but I think it’s certainly feasible, certainly plausible, that a man who is spying on someone behaving as badly as he is can also be in love with the subject of his spying.
JW: And you were saying right at the beginning the second half of the series you think will do more, if that’s the right phrase, do more justice to the actual truth of what happened to those women…
PM: Well, she says “You raped me!”, she says “You’ve stolen my life!”, she says “You’re monstrous!”, she says “You’re a murderer!” That really does represent some of the pain and anger that women like ‘Alison’ and Helen Steel who’ve done an amazing job of bringing all of this to the public’s attention. But I really think that they’ll feel a lot better, I really hope so, when they’ve watched the rest of the series.
JW: Peter Moffatt, thank you.
Words fail me (as they seemingly do for Moffatt, too).
Cross-posted on the URG blog
So just what did former spycop, SDS manager and – to borrow a hackneyed media cliché oft wheeled out for Mayday – so-called academic Bob Lambert get up to in the late 1990s?
After spending rather a lot of time working on a series of articles about our old friend Dr Bob for the Undercover Research Group‘s wiki project, it struck me that it’s just not clear what Lambert did between leaving SDS sometime after August 1998, and the establishment of the Muslim Contact Unit in January 2002.
Biographies – which no doubt he himself supplied – indicate that Lambert remained with Metropolitan Police Special Branch since joining it in 1980. For example, the blurb on Lambert following his article ‘Reflections on Counter-Terrorism Partnerships in Britain’ for the Cordoba Foundation magazine Arches issue number 5 (January-February 2007) notes that “Bob worked continuously as a Special Branch specialist counter-terrorist/counter-extremist intelligence officer from 1980” until the setting up of MCU at the beginning of 2002).
Certainly, no evidence has so far come up to suggest he was involved in, for example, Territorial Policing; that he was transferred to other Special Branch-equivalent units such as the Anti-Terrorist Branch; or that he transferred to a police force other than the Metropolitan Police Service.
By implication, Lambert seems likely to have been working in a different unit or units within MPSB during this time period. The Arches biography mentioned above notes that from beginning in MPSB in 1980 until 2006 or 2007, Lambert had dealt “with all forms of violent political threats to the UK, from Irish republican to the many strands of International terrorism.” Whilst his work on international terrorism at E Squad has already been noted, an involvement in Irish republican matters would suggest time served in B Squad (though it is by no means clear whether that would have occurred at this point of his career or in Lambert’s pre-SDS years).
One further hint at what Lambert got up to in the interregnum between his times at SDS and MCU is in his colourful description of watching the September 2001 attack on the World Trade Center:
As the first twin tower shrunk to the ground, anti-military and anti-globalisation campaigners abandoned a picket of an international arms fair in London’s docklands. Inside New Scotland Yard’s public order control room attention switched from screens with departing protesters to the televised attack on the World Trade Center. No one could quite comprehend the enormity of what was happening in New York and Washington.*
Whilst the passage is written opaquely, it implies that Lambert was himself “inside New Scotland Yard’s public order control room”, surveilling the September 2001 Disarm DSEi protest against a biennial arms fair. Activist groups participating included Campaign Against Arms Trade, the WOMBLES, Earth First!, Reclaim The Streets and others. If Lambert was in the control room watching over the demonstrations, then it would further imply that he may have been working in C Squad, the MPSB body interested in what would now be termed ‘domestic extremism’, or S Squad, the parent unit of SDS which specialised in surveillance and intelligence gathering.
(As an aside, at least two undercover police officers were involved on the ground at the 2001 DSEi protests: ‘Jason Bishop’, believed to be working for Lambert’s old unit SDS, and ‘Rod Richardson’, thought to be one of the first infiltrators to be deployed by the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU). According to Rob Branbury, an activist targeted by Bishop, the undercover officer called him that day when news of 9/11 broke to sound him out, “as if he wanted to know what people thought about the attack to the Twin Towers.”)
But anyway, what about Dr Bob?
Come on, hivemind – let’s fill in those missing years 1998-2001!
* Lambert’s claim that “campaigners abandoned a picket” of DSEi in this way is simply not true. American 11 hit 1 WTC at 0846, New York time – around a quarter to two in the afternoon in London. United 175 hit 2 WTC at 0903. 2 WTC collapsed at 0958, and 1 WTC a half-hour later at 1028. Many protesters at DSEi were aware of all this – the news having been broadcast around the site on a soundsystem – and some watched a live feed of the second airplane crashing into the World Trade Center on a screen in a media organisation’s outside broadcast van.
Whilst many reporters swiftly left the site, the anti-arms fair actions continued at the West Gate until at least half past four (more than an hour after the second tower collapsed), when a large group moved off en masse. A smaller group, with a large ‘POLICE AGAINST THE ARMS TRADE’ banner, remained at West Gate until at least 6pm. See, for example, IMC-UK, ‘Fiesta for Life in the Docklands 2001’, Indymedia UK, 11 September 2001; or Andy Robertson, ‘DSEI Arms Fair. September 11 2001’, Squall, September 2001 (accessed via Archive.org).
The murky world of private security and its involvement in spying on ‘enemies of the state’: the road protest years
What follows is a skeleton summary of the involvement of private security firm Brays – amongst others – in monitoring anti-roads protesters on behalf of the state (at great public expense, almost entirely unaccountably, and largely in secret) during the Thatcher and Major administrations’ massive expansionist programme of building. It is mostly based on Hansard – the official Parliamentary record – and is offered here by way of rekindling interest in the topic, especially as it brings together both the issue of construction industry (and activist) blacklisting, and the use of long-term police (and private) infiltrators.
The Brays Detective Agency was hired to monitor roads protesters during the 1990s – variously by the Department of Transport, the Highways Agency (an Ibbs/Next Steps ‘Executive Agency’ under the purview of DoT) and the Treasury Solicitor.
There is no clear overall picture of exactly how much money was spent, as the various overlapping, conflicting or otherwise obfuscatory Ministerial and Agency replies to Parliamentary questions over the course of three years show:
- 25 February 1993: £7,000 (detective agency fees to Brays on M3/Twyford Down protests)
- 26 February 1993: £7,000 (detective agency fees to Brays on M3/Twyford Down protests)
- 18 March 1993: £7,000 (detective agency fees to Brays on M3/Twyford Down protests)
- 11 May 1993: £35,000 (detective agency fees on M3/Twyford Down protests since February 1992)
- 18 January 1994: £256,211 (total manpower costs of security and policing in 1993 for M11 link road)
- 23 February 1994: £200,000+ (additional costs of police operation on 16 February at M11 link)
- 23 February 1994: £470,075 (total manpower costs of policing and security since September 1993 at M11 link)
- 4 March 1994: £228,000 (payments to Brays by DoT from March 1992 to end of January 1994)
- 4 March 1994: £193,875 (£165,000 ex VAT) (total cost of legal fees to date at Twyford Down)
- 22 April 1994: £16,163 (additional manpower costs – NI contributions and overtime but not basic pay – for policing at M11 link/Wanstead Common in January)
- 25 April 1994: £760,000 (total spend with private detective agencies by DoT since 1991)
- 4 May 1994: £250,829.52 (detective agency fees on M3/Twyford Down protests)
- 1 July 1994: £253,800 (£216,000 ex VAT) (total legal fees on M3/Twyford Down protests)
- 14 July 1994: £100,000 (sum set aside to cover HA’s solicitors’ payment to private detective agencies in relation to Batheaston/Swainswick (Solsbury Hill) bypass protests)
- 14 July 1994: £21,000 (payment due to be made to private detective agencies by HA’s solicitors in relation to Batheaston/Swainswick (Solsbury Hill) bypass protests)
- 14 July 1994: £71,450 (expenditure to date by HA with Bray’s relating to M11 link, A11 (Norfolk) & Batheaston bypass)
- 12 December 1994: £1 million (approximate security cost to HA of operation the previous week at M11 link protest site)
- 12 December 1994: £100,000 (approximate cost to HA of site clearance at Claremont Road M11 link protest)
- 12 December 1994: £3 million (approximate cost to HA for security staff at M11 link/Claremont Road from September 1993 to date)
- 12 December 1994: £185,000 (fees paid by HA to Brays for Claremont Road/M11 link)
- 12 December 1994: £180,000 (approximate legal fees payable by HA for Claremont Road/M11 link)
- 12 December 1994: £500,000 (estimated monthly cost to HA for security at Claremont Road/M11 link)
- 12 December 1994: £25,000 (estimated monthly cost to HA for engaging Brays at Claremont Road/M11 link)
- 12 December 1994: £4,000 (estimated monthly cost in legal fees to HA at Claremont Road/M11 link)
- 27 February 1995: £267,377 (total sum paid to Brays by DoT up to end of contract 31 July 1994)
- 21 March 1995: £276,000 (total legal fees payable by HA for M3 Twyford Down protests)
- 23 March 1995: £310,930 (total expenditure by Treasury Solicitor to Brays for work sponsored by DoT)
- 5 April 1995: £294,000 (payments to Brays by HA, M11 link)
- 5 April 1995: £25,000 (monthly payments to Brays by HA, M11 link)
- 5 April 1995: £150,000 (payments to Brays by HA, Batheaston bypass)
- 5 April 1995: £259,000 (payments to Brays by HA, M3 Twyford Down)
- 5 April 1995: £1,500 (payments to Brays by HA, M65 Blackburn)
- 5 April 1995: £200 (payments to other detective agencies by HA, M65 Blackburn)
- 5 April 1995: £300 (payments to Brays by HA, A34 Newbury Bypass)
- 5 April 1995: £450 (payments to Brays by HA, A11 Besthorpe-Wymondham)
- 5 April 1995: £705,450 (total payments to Brays & other detective agencies by HA in relation to road protests)
- 9 January 1996: £950,588 (total expenditure by HA’s solicitors on services supplied by Brays)
John Denham, MP for Southampton Itchen raised some interesting points in his adjournment debate of 2 December 1994:
Twyford down was, as far as I can establish, the first time that widespread surveillance was carried out on British people by private detective agencies acting on behalf of the Government. Secondly, the Government have played a direct role in the retention of private security guards who used violence against protestors. Thirdly, the Government are now pursuing, at taxpayers’ expense, a punitive legal action against people who allegedly took part in protests of the most innocuous and innocent form.
Brays detective agency was hired, for what turned out to be a cost of more than £250,000, to take photographs of protesters and to serve papers on them. As far as I can establish, that scale of surveillance has never been undertaken by any Department. The privatisation of surveillance and snooping should therefore have been approached with great sensitivity and care—but far from it.
There are no guidelines, either in the Department of Transport or in the Government, as to the use of private detective agencies. I asked the National Audit Office to investigate the hiring of Brays, and the Comptroller and Auditor General confirmed to me in a letter dated 18 October that expenditure on Brays was allowed to grow from an initial £836 allowed within delegated authorisation to £250,000.
Expenditure reached nearly £100,000 before a proper written contract was let—albeit then without competitive tendering. It was only after I had tabled parliamentary questions about contracts that any formal contract was let. The Comptroller and Auditor General concluded:Whilst the Department felt they had to respond quickly to the escalating protest action it is still important for them to follow authorised contract procedures … in this case, however, the Department neither established a contract when the scope of the work changed from a one-off action to an on-going surveillance operation, nor held a competitive tender exercise once they recognised the extent of the work involved.The rules of the Department were not followed.
The National Audit Office was clearly not initially convinced that expenditure on Brays was even legal. The Comptroller and Auditor General wrote to me, saying:there were no special guidelines in place on employing private detective agencies; our financial auditors have looked into whether this expenditure should have treated as novel and contentious, and therefore subject to Treasury approval.I understand that the Treasury has now ruled that the expenditure was allowable, and there I suspect that the issue will remain unless it is challenged in the courts.
I must say that I doubt whether Parliament has ever knowingly voted money to the Department of Transport for such a use of private detective agencies. I hope that we can be told what the role of Ministers was in the affair. Were all the decisions taken by junior civil servants rattling around out of control, or were Ministers involved in the decisions on the surveillance? If so, which Minister took the decision to use Brays in this role, to overrule normal contracting procedures and to spend £250,000 of public money? I hope that the Minister for Railways and Roads can tell the House the answers.
Exactly who Brays were/are is an interesting question. The company has a surprisingly light internet footprint, comprising mostly an array of corporate records (such company and director filings) which are difficult to hide, being legally required documentation and made available for free by Companies House licensees such as Duedil, or else references on listings sites derived from scraped content from same.
A moderately detailed search on Brays will tell you that it began as a detective agency in 1929, but with little or no more detail than that.
In terms of Brays’ involvement in the monitoring of roads protests, the first reference to them comes on 11 November 1992, again via John Denham MP, during a debate on the Rio Agreement:
Are there no limits on how far the Government will sink in the promotion of environmental destruction, including the hiring of a private detective agency, Bray’s detective agency of Southampton, to photograph peaceful protesters at Twyford Down? Does the Minister have any limits as to how far the Government will go in destroying the environment and suspending the basic civil liberties of Her Majesty’s subjects?
On 18 November 1992 Roads & Traffic Minister Kenneth Carlisle MP acknowledged that the Department of Transport “has employed Bray’s Detective Agency (Southampton) Ltd. to serve papers on people who have trespassed on the Department’s land and to photograph trespassers” in relation to protests against the M3 extension at Twyford Down.
Carlisle further admitted that Brays “has been employed from time to time since March this year on an hourly basis at its standard rates, plus expenses,” an arrangement he envisages “will continue to be employed on this basis for as long as necessary.” (A statement by Carlisle on 4 March 1994 confirms that Brays was engaged by the DoT in March 1992, adding that “its contract runs until the end of July 1994”.)
A week later, on 25 November, Carlisle states (whilst describing the range of work for which the DoT might use private detectives) that “the cost of tracing an individual is usually in the range of £60 to £90 per case.”
The first reference to the specific cost to the tax payer of the DoT’s arrangement with Brays in relation to roads protests is, as noted in the list above, on 25 February 1993, when Mr Carlisle states that Brays – recommended to the Department by the Twyford Down engineer (presumably WS Atkins) – has up until that point “been paid approximately £7,000.” The £7,000 figure is repeated in Carlisle’s response to Bob Cryer MP the next day (26 February 1993), and then again on 18 March in response to a question from Mike Gapes MP.
Yet in just over a month, the cost of doing business had jumped up six-fold to £35,000, according to Carlisle’s 11 May response to Denham, snowballing yet further to £228,000 by the end of January 1994 (according to a subsequent Carlisle statement on 4 March), and then £250, 829.52 a couple of months later (see written answer on 4 May 1994 by Carlisle’s successor as Minister for Roads & Traffic, Robert Key MP).
Curiously, by 25 April 1994 Key was telling Martyn Jones MP that the Department of Transport had spent a whopping £760,000 on private detective agencies since 1991. No breakdown was offered of when, where and with whom this vast amount of spy cash was doled out.
The government did not even seem to be getting value for money, regardless of the constitutional or ethical ins and outs of spying on the citizenry. In his 11 May 1994 comment, Carlisle stated that Brays had by then served papers on “an additional three individuals” to the three served at the time of his 12 March statement (serving papers being – according to Denham himself on 25 February the sole reason for engaging Brays in the first place). In other words, by its own figures the government was paying a private company nearly £6,000 to serve papers on each protester accused of committing a civil offence of trespass.
[TO BE CONTINUED]
It has been a fair old while since last I posted; it’s been a busy old time. But I will endeavour to start updating this ol’ blog more assiduously now things are back on an even keel.
Firstly – belatedly – I should point you to the website of the Undercover Research Group, which was launched a couple of months ago to serve as a platform for URG’s detailed investigations into the use by police of long-term infiltrators within political movements.
It is still very much a work-in-progress, so please excuse the odd typo, as we strive towards both keeping up with current events (for example, the announcement of the public inquiry into undercover policing, the Hillsborough inquest, construction industry blacklisting, the convergence of private and state intelligence agents, etc), and publishing detailed profiles on the themes, units, individuals and documents associated with the topic. We are a small team, but already we have put in many thousands of work-hours. We hope that the fruits of our labour, which we shall make publicly available as soon as possible, will help civil society make better, well-informed sense of this subject.
And secondly, I hope also to return to my less serious online projects on film and comics as soon as time and work pressures allow. Because there has to be more to life than just digging into barrelfuls of rotting apples.
This Thursday and Friday at the High Court in London the state’s strategy of infiltrating spy-cops into the lives of political activists goes on trial, after a fashion at least.
Essentially a bunch of women who were treated like patsies by undercover cops and their bosses – tricked into intimate relationships, used as living, breathing camouflage, exploited as a means of infiltrating political groups more convincingly – will argue that the Metropolitan Police should drop the ‘Neither Confirm Nor Deny’ (NCND) approach which it has so far used to avoid taking responsibility for the consequences of its decades-long domestic spying operation.
The concept of NCND has been wheeled out from time to time, but those of a more sceptical bent, cynical even, would note how it has only been since the legal case brought against the police that it has been wheeled out as some kind of inviolable principle underpinning the very fabric of democracy and protecting those brave, selfless souls who volunteer to become well-paid, under-supervised flatfooted spooks of the state…
So if you are around London either today or tomorrow, get thee down to the Royal Courts of Justice(!) on The Strand from 9am and show how you stand in solidarity with these women and all those others targeted by undercover cops.
For more info on how the case goes, check Police Spies Out of Lives on Twitter.
Seven Magnificent Reasons why NCND is bullshit!
1: Some former undercover spy-cops have outed themselves
Well, it’s rather difficult to keep this whole NCND charade going when the very people it’s supposedly there to protect are exposing themselves, isn’t it?
- Peter Francis: In March 2010, then using the pseudonym ‘Officer A’, former Special Branch officer Francis candidly talked to The Observer about his infiltration of left-wing and anti-fascist groups on behalf of the SDS from September 1993 until September 1997. He also noted the interest that his superiors had in infiltrating ‘black justice groups’, particularly in the wake of criticisms of the Met’s handling of the Stephen Lawrence murder investigation.
Mark Kennedy: A Metropolitan Police officer who worked undercover within the environmental movement for the NPOIU between 2003 and 2009, before leaving the Met and continuing the same for private spying company Global Open for a further ten months, Kennedy admitted his role as a cop to activists who confronted him in October 2010. He then repeated his admissions to another activist in November 2010.
- These admissions were then the basis for the collapse of the second Ratcliffe-on-Soar trial, and subsequent quashing of convictions from the first – admissions supported by the Crown Prosecution Service, Nottinghamshire Constabulary, the Independent Police Complaints Commission, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and others in their various reports on the debacle.
- Oh, and then there’s the small matter of the hagiographic documentary about him that Max Clifford brokered…
Bob Lambert: Since his exposure in October 2011 by members of the London Greenpeace group on which he spied in the 1980s, the former Metropolitan Police Special Branch spy-cop and then spymaster Lambert has repeatedly acknowledged that he was an SDS infiltrator, notably in the brief statement he himself put out.
- In his filmed interview with Channel 4 News in July 2013, Lambert again accepted that he had been an undercover officer, and that Francis had been too.
Jim Boyling: Mentored by Francis and commanded by Lambert – with whom he later helped set up the ‘Muslim Contact Unit’ within Special Branch – Boyling infiltrated Reclaim The Streets as ‘Jim Sutton’ on behalf of SDS from 1995 until 2000.
- In 1999 he began going out with a female activist. He ended their relationship suddenly and disappeared from the environmental movement in late 2000 when his SDS deployment came to an end. But in November 2001 she tracked him down and they restarted their relationship.
- Soon he admitted to her that he had been an undercover police officer, got her pregnant, isolated her from her environmentalist friends. In time he also persuaded her to change her name by deed poll to reduce the chance of his police bosses discovering that he was sleeping with a former target, told her personal information about activists who had been spied upon, and revealed the identities of several other undercover officers, including John Dines and Bob Lambert, the latter of whom even visited their home.
- They had two children together and married in 2005, before the relationship disintegrated. By 2009 they had divorced.
2: The police have already confirmed some infiltrators were officers
…And even if the spy-cops aren’t outing themselves, their bosses are quietly confirming as much off the record!
- Mark Kennedy: Whilst in the early stages of the scandal the Met maintained a ‘no comment’ response to questions about Kennedy or the NPOIU, soon there was such a deluge of further embarrassing details that police chiefs were forced to acknowledge him as a cop in under a fortnight.
‘Lynn Watson’: Exposed by The Guardian in January 2011, ‘Watson’ was initially known only as ‘Officer A’ (the newspaper’s editors presumably having forgotten that less than a year previously its sister title had assigned that pseudonym to Peter Francis) thanks to a deal with “senior officers” and “senior intelligence sources” who in the face of overwhelming evidence (including being grassed up by Kennedy) admitted she was NPOIU, but asked for a head-start before publishing her work name or her photograph so that she could be relocated from a subsequent undercover operation.
- Almost immediately her full work name, unpixelated photograph and undercover biography became known through activist news media.
- Police sources further confirmed to The Times that she was a serving police officer who had worked undercover for NPOIU, offering additional information on her deployments.
‘Marco Jacobs’: At the same time as ‘Watson’ was confirmed as a serving officer working in NPOIU, so was ‘Jacobs’ – or ‘Officer B’ – who infiltrated groups in Brighton and Cardiff.
- Jim Boyling: Earlier this year during legal proceedings to have the conviction quashed of an environmental protester who was tried alongside Boyling in 1997, prosecutors agreed that John Jordan had been wrongfully convicted. However, they refused to say why they considered it a miscarriage of justice, even though it was patently obvious it was because Boyling had been an infiltrator using a fake identity, preferring instead to strike an NCND pose – all whilst the Met itself confirmed that Boyling had been a police officer.
3: Senior police officers have spoken with impunity about undercover units and their personnel
In fact, some of the biggest cops think that the rules don’t apply to them, and will run their gums pretty much anywhere…
Ben Gunn: A career Special Branch officer since 1963, Gunn spent two years running SO12 before moving to leadership roles at Cambridgeshire Constabulary in 1991, becoming Chief Constable in 1994, a rank he held until retirement in March 2002. It was Gunn – an officer intimately familiar with SDS, its officers and operations, and who in later years chaired the ACPO Security Committee – who facilitated the participation of ex-SDS infiltrators and Special Branch case officers in Peter Taylor’s 2002 documentary television series True Spies.
Denis O’Connor: In his capacity as Chief Inspector of Constabulary, O’Connor (a Chief Police Officer since around 1990) openly acknowledged Mark Kennedy as having been an undercover police officer in media appearances and interviews.
- O’Connor’s HMIC review of ‘national police units which provide intelligence on criminality associated with protest’ (that’s version three of the report: an initial, insipid draft by Bernard Hogan-Howe was rewritten by O’Connor himself, before that second version then had to be pulped and rush-written a third time as the story that Jim Boyling had given evidence under oath whilst using his fake identity broke the night before the report was due to be released) – explicitly references the arbitrary exercise of NCND:
- It is normal practice for the police to neither confirm nor deny the true identity of undercover officers. This is to protect both the officers themselves, and the effectiveness of the tactic. However, the case of Mark Kennedy is one of exceptional circumstances, including his own public revelations, the media interest in him, and the fact that the Court of Appeal named him on 19 July 2011. Because of this, HMIC has chosen on this occasion to use his real name.
Bernard Hogan-Howe: After leaving HMIC, where he authored the never publicly released original report on spy-cop units (as noted above),Hogan-Howe was made Metropolitan Police Commissioner – and in that capacity he too has made numerous public statements in which he accepts that various people were undercover officers, either directly or by implication.
- Facing questions from the Metropolitan Police Authority in October 2011 in relation to allegations that Jim Boyling perjured himself whilst undercover, the Commissioner by implication confirmed that he had been a Metropolitan Police officer at that time: “I am just a little careful about answering the point about whether he is still working for us and what he is doing. He is in the misconduct process, which is a publicly reported fact, so he must be still working for us.”
- Following the allegations made by Peter Francis that SDS officers had been invited to contribute to a ‘smear campaign’ against the Lawrence family in the lead up to the Macpherson Inquiry, in June 2013 Hogan-Howe again failed to invoke NCND, instead stating: “I am personally shocked by the allegations that an undercover officer was told to find evidence that might smear the Lawrence family… If these allegations are true, it’s a disgrace, and the Metropolitan Police Service will apologise.”
Mick Creedon: The serving Chief Constable of Derbyshire Constabulary, Creedon – currently in charge of the cops-investigating-cops Operation Herne – has freely acknowledged that some suspected spies (such as Francis and Lambert) were police infiltrators… Whilst also invoking NCND in the first report, but then devoting the entire second report to ‘Allegations of Peter Francis’!
4: Parliament has taken evidence under oath from serving and former undercover officers
It takes a very special type of person to fold so quickly under a Keith Vaz interrogation. But dangit, these guys will give it a go!
The Home Affairs Select Committee has heard evidence from a number of police officers – both serving and former – in relation to undercover policing, and issued both an interim report in March 2013 and a follow-up in October of the same year.
- Mark Kennedy: The former Metropolitan Police officer appeared in person before the committee in February 2013. He attested that he had undertaken undercover duties since 1998 and was accepted into the NPOIU in 2001, where he subsequently worked as an undercover officer infiltrating political groups in the UK and overseas.
Patricia Gallan: Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Patricia Gallan ran the Met’s Operation Herne until February 2013, when it was transferred to the care of Derbyshire Constabulary. She appeared before the committee in February 2013 and made reference to a “policy” of NCND whilst discussing the topic in the abstract; yet she also explicitly referred both to Mark Kennedy and an SDS officer exposed in his wake (who can reasonably be deduced to be Boyling).
- Mick Creedon: The Derbyshire Chief Constable, who took over the running of Operation Herne from DAC Gallan at the invitation of Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe in February 2013, gave evidence before the committee in July of that year. He acknowledged that Peter Francis was an officer in SDS, and neither here nor in his earlier letter to the committee, in which he noted the allegations made by Peter Francis in relation to the Lawrence family”, did he make reference to NCND.
Since January 2011, when Mark Kennedy was publicly exposed in the mainstream media as an undercover police infiltrator, there have been almost countless official investigations, inquiries, reviews and reports into every possible aspect of the undercover policing issue – though not all of them public. The ones so far in the public domain all identify at least some officers to some degree, though…
Rose Report (CPS): In April 2009 114 people were arrested in relation to a planned protest at Ratcliffe-on-Soar power plant, based on intelligence supplied by undercover Metropolitan Police officer Mark Kennedy. 26 were charged, with twenty tried (and convicted) in December 2010, and a further six due to go on trial in January 2011.
- Neither the police nor the Crown Prosecution Service disclosed to the defence that there had been a spy in their midst; but in October 2010 suspicious activists themselves had confronted Kennedy with indisputable evidence that he had been a policeman, and he confessed. With the cat out of the bag, the second trial collapsed before it began, with the convictions from the first trial subsequently quashed.
- Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer then commissioned Sir Christopher Rose to inquire into the issue of disclosure. Rose’s report, published in December 2011, freely acknowledges that Kennedy was an undercover police officer working for NPOIU, and details not just Kennedy’s actions but those of his superior in NPOIU, the Nottinghamshire investigation team, and the CPS prosecutors.
- Operation Soisson/Operation Herne (Met Police/Derbyshire Constabulary): The Metropolitan Police first began to investigate allegations about its SDS undercover unit in October 2011, when Operation Soisson was initiated with just four officers. Soisson then became Herne, with first Met Deputy Assistant Commissioner Patricia Gallan and then Derbyshire Constabulary’s Chief Constable Mick Creedon taking nominal charge.
- The first report of Operation Herne was published in July 2013, focusing on the use of ‘covert identities’ (most notably employing the identities of dead children) by undercover police. This report makes early mention of the “policy of ‘neither confirming nor denying’ the use of or identity of an undercover police officer”, which it describes as “a long established one used by UK policing”. Accordingly, this report does not refer to any undercover officer by their covert identity or real name. Only the identity of a dead child – Rod Richardson – suspected of having been appropriated by an NPOIU undercover spy is mentioned.
- However, the report makes copious references to codenamed officers which make deduction simple. Creedon, for example, notes “allegations that a former SDS officer (N14) had a relationship with a woman whilst he had worked undercover and that he had gone on to father children with her,” in circumstances that make it plain to deduce that this is Jim Boyling.
- There is also reference to “a video interview provided to the Guardian by the former SDS Officer N43”, who is clearly Peter Francis. Reminiscences by retired officer ‘N2’ about a situation in which he “found himself in a situation where he had penetrated an organisation and was then asked by the group to help trace a mole among them” suggests this may be Mike Ferguson, an early SDS spy previously outed in the True Spies documentary series. Similarly ‘N85’ would appear to be the former Commander of Special Branch, Roger Pearce – a career Branch man with extensive experience of covert policing and himself a former SDS undercover officer.
- The second Herne report, which came out in March 2014, focused on the claims of ex-SDS officer Peter Francis. Yet despite even being called Report 2 – Allegations of Peter Francis, Creedon sticks to the NCND credo, this time even throwing in some case law and legislative references to try and plug some of the leaks.
- Notwithstanding this, the report still refers to Francis’ boss Bob Lambert by name, as well as by implication as ‘N10’.
Stephen Lawrence Independent Review (Mark Ellison QC): Appointed by Home Secretary Theresa May as a sop to the Lawrence family, who were calling for a full independent inquiry, the Ellison Review – released the same day in March 2014 as the second Herne report – was an unexpected bomb, forensically blowing apart many of the Met’s orthodoxies on not just its investigation of the murder of Stephen Lawrence but also on the behaviour of Special Branch and its undercover unit SDS.
- The Review makes no claims about NCND, and instead simply assigns number codes to pretty much all undercover officers, with the exception of obvious ones such as Peter Francis and Bob Lambert.
- HMIC Review: As noted above, the O’Connor/Hogan-Howe Review of national police units which provide intelligence on criminality associated with protest (snappy title) for Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary was another report which potentously explained the importance of NCND, before then completely undermining it as a concept by naming Mark Kennedy throughout.
- Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station (Operation Aeroscope) Disclosure Final Report (IPCC): Covering similar ground as the Rose Report but concentrating on the actions of police officers, the IPCC report names Kennedy as an undercover officer, but refers to his case officer David Hutcheson only as ‘NPOIU DI’, and their superior responsible for disclosure as ‘NPOIU DCI’.
6: Earlier tribunals have rejected the idea that the NCND convention can be rigidly and indefinitely deployed
Previous attempts by official bodies to apply a blanket NCND response to any inquiries relating to the use of spies or secret intelligence against those who were demonstrably not violent or threats to the state have been met with short shrift.
The job of adjudicating on appeals to the Information Tribunal – where a data controlling organisation has refused to release information under the Data Protection Act (1998) citing a section 28 ‘national security’ exemption – belongs to the National Security Appeals Panel. Already the NSAP has made a number of interesting decisions on this issue – and ones involving the ‘big boy’ spooks of the Security Service (MI5), the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) and Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), not just the more déclassé rubber heelers of Special Branch, or – worse! – the impertinent young bucks of the newer national ‘domestic extremism’ units.
Typically in these appeals the state has argued that by letting ‘innocent’ people know that no information is held on them, this enables a ‘guilty’ person to incrementally build up an accurate understanding of whether information is held on them.
Whilst – repeatedly – the Panel tends to point appellants towards the Investigatory Powers Tribunal as a means to pursue such issues, the clear implication is that the ‘incremental’ argument is not monolithic and must be weighed against other contributory factors.
Norman Baker v. Home Secretary (2001): The Liberal Democrat MP for Lewes won a landmark judgement which removed the ability of the Security Service to use a blanket NCND policy.
- It came after the Lewes MP received an anonymous tip-off that he had been under Special Branch surveillance in 1986-1989, that intelligence on him was held by the Animal Rights National Index (ARNI, a precursor to NPOIU and NETCU), and that this information was then passed onto MI5 in 1998 by a ‘source’ inside South Downs Earth First!
- On hearing this claim he put in a DPA subject access request to MI5 asking to see what information it held on him, but this was stonewalled with an NCND response.
- In its conclusion, the NSAP noted that:
- the blanket exemption given by the Certificate in relation to section 7(1)(a) is wider than is necessary to protect national security…the blanket exemption relieves the Service of any obligation to give a considered answer to individual requests…
- Phillip Hilton v. Foreign Secretary (2003): In this case a former GCHQ employee sought to find out whether his personal data had been shared with other public bodies or private companies, and to clarify whether the travel restrictions that were customarily part of his employment conditions then remained in force even though he had left the job more than a decade previously.
- Following an NCND response from GCHQ, he appealed to NSAP; the Panel declined to rule on the principle of NCND, though noted that it found it “difficult to accept that the NCND reply can always be justified on this ground, because as a matter of commonsense it may be thought that there are some cases where a definite response would not enable any inference to be drawn in other cases.”
- Nevertheless, the Panel dismissed the appeal and instead pointed to the secret Investigatory Powers Tribunal established under RIPA as the appropriate body to consider whether it was “an unjustified claim by GCHQ to give a NCND response or to withhold personal data on national security grounds”.
- Tony Gosling v. Home Secretary (2003): Here a journalist requested from MI5 any information held on him by them, citing the Baker decision; the Service turned him down and gave an NCND response, citing s28. He then appealed to NSAP.
- Whilst this appeal too was dismissed, the Panel indicated that the Service conceded ground:
- Assuming that the general NCND policy is itself justified…the Service accepts that the policy is not absolute. …There may be other, as yet not specifically identified cases, where departure from NCND might be justifiable.
- Peter Hitchens v. Home Secretary (2003): A journalist and former activist with the International Socialists in the early 1970s, Hitchens made a subject access request to the Security Service on the back of the Baker decision.
- Whilst sympathetic to Hitchens’ argument that the passage of time should affect the degree to which NCND might be considered appropriate, the Panel also gave weight to the ‘incremental’ argument, noting that “If (the appellant) and a university contemporary both made requests under section 7(1)(a) for records which, if they exist, are more than thirty years old, a NCND reply in one case but not the other might suggest that more recent data are held in that case alone.”
- The appeal was dismissed, for essentially the same reasons as in Gosling.
7: Police only invoked the NCND defence after legal action was brought against them
As noted by the women’s support group Police Spies Out Of Lives:
- The women launched their legal action in December 2011, but it was not until June 2012 that the police first mentioned NCND in relation to the claim.
What a funny coincidence…
Yes – I think we have a winning ticket here!
- Tony Thompson, ‘Undercover policeman reveals how he infiltrated UK’s violent activists’, The Observer, 14 March 2010 (accessed 1 May 2014).
- Tony Thompson, ‘Inside the lonely and violent world of the Yard’s elite undercover unit’, The Observer, 14 March 2010 (accessed 1 May 2014).
- Rob Evans & Paul Lewis, Undercover: The True Story of Britain’s Secret Police, Faber & Faber, 2013, pp307-311.
- Rob Evans & Paul Lewis, Undercover: The True Story of Britain’s Secret Police, Faber & Faber, 2013, pp311-314.
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- London Greenpeace, ‘Stop police infiltration of campaign groups!’, London Greenpeace (via Indymedia UK), 15 October 2011 (accessed 15 March 2014).
- Rob Evans & Paul Lewis, Undercover: The True Story of Britain’s Secret Police, Faber & Faber/Guardian Books, 2013, pp59-61.
- Rob Evans & Paul Lewis, Undercover: The True Story of Britain’s Secret Police, Faber & Faber/Guardian Books, 2013, pp331-332.
- Robert Lambert, ‘Rebuilding Trust and Credibility: A preliminary commentary reflecting my personal perspective’, Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence (CSTPV) (via Scribd), February 2012 (accessed 1 April 2014).
- Andy Davies, ‘Interview: Ex-Met’s Bob Lambert on Stephen Lawrence smear’, Channel 4 News, Channel 4, 2 July 2013 (accessed 15 April 2014).
- Andy Davies, ‘I’m sorry, says ex-undercover police boss’, Channel 4 News, Channel 4, 5 July 2013 (accessed 15 April 2014).
- Handa Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence staff page, ‘Dr Robert Lambert – Lecturer in Terrorism Studies’, University of St. Andrews website (accessed 15 March 2014).
- Rob Evans & Paul Lewis, Undercover: The True Story of Britain’s Secret Police, Faber & Faber/Guardian Books, 2013, 56
- Rob Evans & Paul Lewis, Undercover: The True Story of Britain’s Secret Police, Faber & Faber/Guardian Books, 2013, p194.
- unknown author, ‘Undercover police: the unmasked officers’, Daily Telegraph, 10 January 2011 (accessed 4 June 2014).
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- Transpontine, ‘Undercover in East Dulwich’, Transpontine, 19 January 2011 (accessed 4 June 2014).
- Paul Lewis, Rob Evans & Rowenna Davis ‘Undercover policeman married activist he was sent to spy on’, The Guardian, 19 January 2011 (accessed 4 June 2014).
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- Rob Evans & Paul Lewis, Undercover: The True Story of Britain’s Secret Police, Faber & Faber, 2013, pp192-197.
- Paul Lewis, Rob Evans & Rowenna Davis, ‘Ex-wife of police spy tells how she fell in love and had children with him’, The Guardian, 19 January 2011 (accessed 4 June 2014).
- Paul Lewis & Rob Evans, ‘Spying on protest groups has gone badly wrong, police chiefs say’, The Guardian, 19 January 2011 (accessed 5 June 2014).
- Paul Lewis, Rob Evans & Martin Wainwright, ‘Second police officer to infiltrate environmental activists unmasked’, The Guardian, 12/01/11 (accessed 10 May 2014).
- quiteliketheguardianactually, ‘Officer A’, Indymedia UK, 13/01/11 (accessed 10 May 2014).
- ABC Anarres, ‘Three undercover political Police unmasked as infiltrators into UK Anarchist, Anti-Fascist and Climate Justice movements’, Indymedia UK, 19/01/11 (accessed 10 May 2014).
- infiltrators, ‘Lynn Watson’, Infiltrators & Informers blog, 08/03/11 (accessed 10 May 2014).
- Sean O’Neill, ‘Police infiltrator in fear for her life after gang cover is blown’, The Times, 20/04/11 (accessed 10 May 2014).
- Rob Evans, ‘Prosecutors ‘behaving ludicrously’ in case of alleged undercover officer’, The Guardian, 27 January 2014 (accessed 5 June 2014).
- Daniel Foggo & David Bamber, ‘BBC accused of putting MI5 agents’ lives at risk’, Daily Telegraph, 10 November 2002 (accessed 2 June 2014).
- Simon Israel, ‘Policing undercover policing: how far is too far?’, Channel 4 News, 2 February 2011 (accessed 15 April 2014).
- Sean O’Neill, ‘Met chief’s report on undercover police was rewritten’, The Times, 24 March 2014 (accessed 4 June 2014).
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- HMIC, A review of national police units which provide intelligence on criminality associated with protest, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, February 2012, p4 (accessed 16 April 2014).
- Metropolitan Police Authority, ‘Transcript of MPA meeting’, MPA website, 27 October 2011, pp20-27 (accessed 23 April 2014).
- Paul Peachey, ‘Met head Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe ‘shocked’ by allegations of smear campaign against Stephen Lawrence family ’, The Independent, 24 June 2013 (accessed 4 June 2014).
- Simon Israel, ‘Was Stephen Lawrence’s family smeared by police?’, Channel 4 News, Channel 4, 24 June 2013 (accessed 15 April 2014).
- Chief Constable Mick Creedon, Operation Herne – Report 1: Use of covert identities, Derbyshire Constabulary, 2013 (accessed 16 April 2014).
- Chief Constable Mick Creedon, Operation Herne – Report 2: Allegations of Peter Francis (second edition), Derbyshire Constabulary, 2014 (accessed 16 April 2014).
- Home Affairs Committee, Undercover Policing: Interim Report, The Stationery Office Limited, 1 March 2013 (accessed 4 June 2014).
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- Chief Constable Mick Creedon, Operation Herne – Report 1: Use of covert identities, Derbyshire Constabulary, 2013, p3 (accessed 16 April 2014).
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There are a lot of acronyms in this article, so here’s a handy guide to all them initials…
- ACPO: Association of Chief Police Officers (private company acting as a forum for senior cops – with no statutory foundation and no democratic oversight – which at times has had authority over units including NPOIU, NDET and NETCU)
- ACPO (TAM): ACPO Terrorism and Allied Matters (ACPO ‘business area’ responsible for devising and driving counter-terrorism and anti-‘domestic extremism’ policy within UK policing, which operated NCDE and its subordinate units NPOIU, NDET and NETCU)
- ARNI: Animal Rights National Index (precursor to NPOIU and NETCU whose remit was widened out to include environmentalists)
- CIU: Confidential Intelligence Unit (sub-unit of NPOIU)
- NCDE: National Coordinator Domestic Extremism (ACPO-controlled office commanding NPOIU, NDET and NETCU until they were all brought together as NDEU in 2010)
- NDEDIU: National Domestic Extremism and Disorder Intelligence Unit (rebranded NDEU, under control of Metropolitan Police’s SO15)
- NDET: National Domestic Extremism Team (investigatory ‘domestic extremism’ unit set up in 2005 to provide national strategic support to localised investigations, which later developed its own intelligence-gathering capability; merged into NDEU in 2010 and moved from ACPO to Met control in 2011)
- NDEU: National Domestic Extremism Unit (merged unit formed in 2010 from NPOIU, NDET and NETCU and transferred to Met control in 2011)
- NETCU: National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit (preventative ‘domestic extremism’ unit set up under Cambridgeshire Constabulary in 2004, coming under the control of NCDE in ACPO until merged into NDEU in 2010 along with NPOIU and NDET , and then transferred to the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command in 2011)
- NPOIU: National Public Order Intelligence Unit (intelligence-gathering ‘domestic extremism’ unit set up under Metropolitan Police Special Branch in 1999, moved to ACPO in 2006, and after merger with NETCU and NDET into NDEU transferred back to the Met in 2011 under Counter Terrorism Command/SO15 as a single unit, NDEU)
- SDS: Special Demonstration Squad (originally Special Operations Squad, later Special Duties Section; political infiltration unit of Metropolitan Police Special Branch)
- SO12: Metropolitan Police Special Branch (intelligence-gathering police unit most concerned with ‘subversion’, ‘domestic extremism’ and terrorism)
- SO13: Anti Terrorism Branch (investigatory unit)
- SO15: Counter Terrorism Command (formed through the union of SO12 and SO13 in 2006)
- CPS: Crown Prosecution Service (responsible for bringing about prosecutions on behalf of the state)
- DPA: Data Protection Act (1998) (enumerates the responsibilities of any organisation which holds or processes data on individuals)
- FOIA: Freedom of Information Act (2000) (providing public access to information held by public authorities)
- GCHQ: Government Communications Headquarters (the national signals intelligence agency of the UK)
- NCND: Neither Confirm Nor Deny (the position surrounding the avowal or otherwise of undercover officers claimed as an official policy by the police)
- NSAP: National Security Appeals Panel (hearing appeals made to the Information Tribunal where a data controller has invoked s28 ‘national security’ defence under the Data Protection Act 1998)
- RIPA: Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (2000) (legislative framework governing undercover policing and the use of informants)