On Wednesday and Thursday this week, groups and individuals targeted by undercover police will address a hearing of the Undercover Policing Inquiry at the Royal Courts of Justice, demanding an end to further delaying tactics by the police.
A picket has been called for 9am to 10am outside the court, in support of those targeted by political policing units for nearly 50 years. These targets include many of the individuals and organisations who founded Netpol back in 2009.
This is a general call for people to support the picket, as this hearing is crucial for the future direction of the Inquiry.
Royal Courts of Justice, the Strand, London WC2A 2LL, 9-10 am.
People spied on by undercover police are attending a hearing this week to demand
- the immediate release of the cover names used by undercover police officers, the campaigning and community groups they spied on, and the personal files held on those spied on
- that Inquiry Chair Lord Pitchford puts a stop to police cynically delaying the Inquiry to avoid disclosure of their misconduct.
- vital changes in the way the Inquiry process, to redress a massive imbalance in resources between them and the police.
Netpol has been asked to publish the following statement on behalf of former friends of an activist known as Jason Bishop, who they now believe to have been an undercover police officer.
Netpol have published this statement as we feel it adds important information to the debate about undercover police officers.
This is the latest in a long line of disclosures relating to the infiltration of protest groups by specialist units of the Metropolitan police including the Special Demonstration Squad and later, the National Public Order Intelligence Unit.
After a detailed investigation by former friends and activists, there is now no doubt that the activist known to many people as Jason Bishop was an undercover cop working for the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS). Jason lived in Kilburn, with a flatmate we haven’t been able to trace who was involved in animal rights activism. He drove a landrover, and allegedly made his money from pirated dvds and software. Read more
Recent revelations about undercover policing have shown that a number of legal and political campaigns and organisations, including the Newham Monitoring Group, a partner organisation in Netpol, have been subject to covert surveillance operations.
While the police are keen to dismiss criticism as being merely an historic issue, applying to a bygone era, Netpol sees no reason to believe that things have improved in recent years. The covert policing of dissent still lacks any effective internal accountability mechanism or means of independent/public scrutiny. Read more
Press release from Newham Monitoring Project (NMP) – one of the members of Netpol.
It is alarming that a Metropolitan police undercover surveillance unit, the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS), targeted Newham Monitoring Project (NMP) and serves as a reminder of the levels of corruption and misuse of power within the police that we have tirelessly campaigned against for years.
Our work supporting victims of police misconduct, racist violence and assisting the grieving relatives and friends of black people who died in police custody has contributed significantly to greater police accountability, transparency and racial equality in the UK. The police have actively sought to stop, disrupt or discredit this work and the people who support it.
Attempts to mitigate against negative publicity using unethical policing methods are indisinguishable from the sanctioning of a cover-up. Read more
Reposted with thanks from Bristling Badger
As the undercover policing scandal rolls on – with the tenacious Guardian journalists about to publish their book and have the accompanying documentary screened by Channel 4 on Monday – the government has announced tighter rules for future operations.
“All long-term undercover policing operations will be independently authorised”
Well that sounds reassuring. But which outside body will be scrutinising the police’s desires?
“the Office for Surveillance Commissioners (OSC) will be notified at the start of all undercover police deployments – and must approve any lasting beyond 12 months.”
UN Special Rapporteur on rights to freedom of assembly and association, Mr Maina Kiai, has delivered preliminary findings on the current state of UK protest and assembly. His full report will follow in the coming months. In researching his findings the Raporteur has consulted with a number of UK activist groups and NGOs, including Netpol, as well as visiting various state entities.
Initial findings of the Special Rapporteur included criticism of the use of embedded undercover officers such as Mark Kennedy to infiltrate groups engaged in direct action, and strongly condemn the recent decision by UK courts that targets of this practice should have their cases against the state heard in private. Read more
The High Court ruled last week on how the judiciary will deal with allegations of sexual abuse brought against undercover police officers who had infiltrated activist groups. The judgement was a disturbing one, as much for the attitudes it displayed as for the final decision that was reached. In his written judgement Judge Tugendhat compared undercover cops to James Bond, and suggested that ‘everyone in public life’ would assume that undercover roles would include sexual activity. His attitude bore a worrying resemblance to that of Bernard Hogan Howe, who angered campaigners by stated that police having sex while in an undercover role was ‘almost inevitable’. Read more