Lynn Watson profile added

Lynn Watson (alias)‘Lynn Watson’ was the assumed identity of an undercover police officer who infiltrated activist groups, mainly in the northern English city of Leeds, between the years of 2002 and 2008. She was tasked by the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU) as ‘one of the first in a team of 15 spies who would be sent undercover in one six-year period’, according to Guardian journalists Rob Evans and Paul Lewis, who devote part of their book, Undercover: The True Story of Britain’s Secret Police to her. Subsequent to her deployment within peace, environmental and anti-authoritarian political movements, Lynn was placed undercover elsewhere, targeting serious organised crime networks.

Lynn’s role as a long-term police spy in protest movements was publicly confirmed in January 2011 in the wake of the unmasking of Mark Kennedy. Her current whereabouts, status and true identity are all unknown.

Read the entire Lynn Watson profile, have a look at the Watson timeline or the gallery with Watson photos.

Qualms about Pitchford’s first ruling

Pitchford Inquiry logoPeter Salmon and Eveline Lubbers / Undercover Research Group
26 October 2015

We looked forward to last Wednesday’s ruling on core participation from the Undercover Policing Public Inquiry for a number of reasons. Partly as we hoped to be hearing if we were granted core participation (we didn’t), but also it gave us an early chance to see how the Inquiry might shape up.

It is clear that the inquiry team has been somewhat overwhelmed by the interest in the Continue reading

Investigating undercovers: How we work

typewriter part
Peter Salmon and Eveline Lubbers / Undercover Research Group
23 October 2015

At the recent hearing of the Pitchford Inquiry into Undercover Policing, the Judge asked the Undercover Research Group whether it ‘was its purpose to out undercover policemen.'(1) It is a good question and the answer is more nuanced than a simple yes or no. In this post we aim to give you some insight into how we work and how we make our judgements.

To be clear, we do not have a list of unconfirmed undercovers through which we are steadily working in preparation to systematic exposure. What we have is a bunch of fears and concerns from individuals and groups, who we think have valid questions. Continue reading

Review: SDS kept out of history of Special Branch

Book Cover Special Branch – A History: 1883 – 2006,
by Ray Wilson and Ian Adams (Biteback, August 2015)
Peter Salmon/Undercover Research Group.
15 October 2015

Despite being one of the best known and long-lived police units, books providing detailed histories of Special Branch are thin on the ground. This is perhaps unsurprising, given the secret nature of its work. On the other hand, one sees quite a few histories of its counterpart, MI5. So perhaps it is often, and mistakenly, seen as the poor relation in the spook family, despite the fact that it pre-dates most other spook organisations in the UK.

The last book which offered a comparable insight was Nigel Allason’s The Branch: A History of the Metropolitan Police Special Branch, covering the area 1883 – 1983 and containing deliberate obfuscations. (N.B. the author is better-known of his writing as “Nigel West”).

Thus, I was looking forward to seeing what this book had to offer, not least as the authors were two former members of Special Branch. That they are not professional writers is immediately obvious; this book is not something you would sit down with for an enthralling read.

Given that the authors are both former Special Branch officers, Continue reading

Victims of undercover policing may be denied a voice at inquiry

Emily Apple, targeted by various police and corporate spies herself, wrote a report on the first hearing of the Pitchford Inquiry for The Canary, 8 October 2015.

The Inquiry into Undercover Policing has opened with applications from individuals and organisations who want to be core participants in the process. Hundreds have been affected by the undercover policing scandal, which employed officers to spy on protest and social justice campaigners. However, with former officer and whistleblower, Peter Francis, claiming to know of at least 100 other such officers, and with undercover operations starting in 1968, the number could reach the thousands.

The spread of groups targeted is staggering, and ranges from the Stephen Lawrence Campaign, campaigning for justice following the death of loved one, to environmental protesters, trade unionists, and peace activists. Given it is known the police kept secret files on Jeremy Corbyn, there is a strong likelihood he has had contact with, and been reported on by these officers.

Read the full report at The Canary.

Open Letter to the Undercover Policing Scrutiny Panel

To the Chair of the National Undercover Scrutiny Panel
(also known as National Oversight Group)

London, 5th October, 2015

Dear Alex Marshall & David Tucker,

As you are probably aware, the Undercover Research Group has been following the National Undercover Scrutiny Panel (a.k.a. the National Oversight Group) quite closely for some time. It is quite clear that for the panel there is a tension between the natural secrecy involved in undercover policing and the failure of public trust that has demanded for more accountability.

It is only fair to acknowledge that our viewpoint is a critical one. However, putting our Continue reading