The importance of Scotland

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Peter Salmon, Undercover Research Group,
20 December 2015

As the Pitchford Inquiry into Undercover Policing gathers steam, there has been a steady stream of voices[i] asking why the activities of undercover police in Scotland appears to have been excluded from the Terms of Reference.[ii] This week we have written to both the First Minister of Scotland, and to Home Secretary Theresa May to ask for the terms of reference to be changed, or for Scotland to have its own inquiry. In this article we set out why we think the case is compelling.

If the Pitchford Inquiry is to get to the heart of the scandals and abuses that surrounds undercover policing against political campaigners and other protestors, it must be able to see the full picture of the activities of the officers involved. So when the Terms of Reference for the inquiry were released in July 2015 it was met with incredulity among those affected that it was restricted to the activities of English and Welsh officers activities only in England and Wales.

Those familiar with the evidence were fully aware that there was considerable activity in Scotland with six of the twelve exposed officers having been there. This goes back many years, from simple holidays by people deceived into relationships they would never have consented to, to a slew of undercovers converging on the counter-summit protests for the 2005 G8 Summit at Gleneagles. Indeed, the role there of Mark Kennedy, one of the most notorious of the exposed officers, was key to his subsequent activities in the environmental movement.

We set out below some of the factual case for the argument to extend the terms of reference to cover Scotland, keenly aware that this can only be the tip of this particular iceberg and that there is much more likely to come to light. Continue reading