Press Release 24/ 10/2017 firstname.lastname@example.org / 07770881503
Victims of Undercover Policing Call on Public Inquiry to Come Clean
Over 100 victims of police spies, frustrated by the Undercover Policing Inquiry’s lack of openness are demanding answers and action.
Their concern over the direction and state of the Inquiry centres around the need for the Inquiry to come clean ovr three crucial factors that would enable victims of police spying to understand the extent to which their lives have been invaded. The necessary measures have not yet been taken by Inquiry Chair Sir John Mitting, despite it being three years into the process.
Kim Bryan speaking on behalf of the SpyCops Communications Group said:
“Unless Mitting orders the release of the names of the undercover officers, the names of the 1,000 plus groups that have been spied upon and allows the victims of police spying to gain access to evidence about them that is controlled by the MPS, there is no hope that this inquiry can set out what it said it was going to do: discover the truth. It is time for the Inquiry to come clean.”
The Inquiry was set up in 2014 to investigate and report on undercover police operations conducted by English and Welsh police forces in England and Wales since 1968. It was called by then Home Secretary, Theresa May, after revelations from victims of undercover policing revealed widespread abuse of human rights and miscarriages of justice and the now notorious spying on family and friends of Stephen Lawrence.
The Inquiry has designated nearly 200 significantly affected people as ‘Core Participants’, They are mostly political activists from a wide range of groups including those campaigning for equality, justice, community empowerment, the environment; workers’, civil, women’s, LGTBQ, human and animal rights; and campaigning against war, racism, sexism, homophobia, government policies, corporate power, and police brutality.
Kim Bryan said;
“Whilst we welcome yesterday’s announcement that the identity of certain undercovers will be revealed, there is no place for closed hearings in what’s meant to be a Public Inquiry. As core participants we are rapidly losing confidence in the Inquiry. The Chair is rowing back on commitments made by the previous Chair, Christopher Pitchford, who said the inquiry’s priority is to discover the truth and recognised the importance of hearing from both officers and their victims along with the need for this to be done in public as far as possible.”
In August, Mitting made a notable departure from the approach of the previous Judge who resigned for health reasons. The August rulings and ‘Minded-To’ notes prevent a thorough investigation and give non-state core participants no right to reply – without any justification.
The letter asks that Sir John Mitting respond to the 5 following questions:
1.What steps will be taken to ensure that all undercover officers identities are released as soon as possible, and when can we expect that to happen?
- What steps will be taken to ensure that the names of the 1000 or so groups spied upon by undercover police officers are released as soon as possible, and when can we expect that to happen?
- What steps will be taken to conserve, and speed up disclosure of the evidence controlled by the MPS, in order to allow the victims of undercover policing to understand the extent to which their lives have been affected?
- What measures will be taken to the tackle the significant financial and power imbalance between the MPS and victims of police spying within the Inquiry?
5. Most importantly, what steps will be taken to ensure that the Inquiry is open and transparent, so that the public and NSCP’s can have confidence in its findings?
Copies of the letter have also been sent to Amber Rudd, Home Secretary, and Diane Abbott, Shadow Home Secretary.