Richard Walton dodging questions and keeping his pension

Richard Walton
Eveline Lubbers / Undercover Research Group,
29 January 2016

Last week Commander Richard Walton retired from the Met, and on the same day the Telegraph and the BBC revealed that the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has decided that Walton has a case to answer for misconduct.

Walton was under investigation for talking to an undercover officer spying on the Lawrence family in 1998, while his job was preparing the Met’s answer to the MacPherson Inquiry into corruption around the Stephen Lawrence murder case. The highly inappropriate secret meeting had been set up by then-leader of the Special Demonstration Squad, Bob Lambert. When the Ellison Review interviewed Walton about this in 2014, he chose to change his story after he realised he was going to be critisised. (The findings of the Ellison Report about the spying on the Lawrences made Theresa May decide to have the Pitchford Inquiry).

Though Walton’s retirement was to be expected after 30 years of service in the Met, one wonders why the Commander is free to leave just before  the publication of the police watchdog findings.

Retiring or resigning has long been the police tactic of choice to avoid disciplinary action, keeping both a clean record and their pensions. In 2011, 500 officers who were facing investigations had resigned over a two-year period, as Emily Apple wrote. Theresa May reported another 144 officers leaving this way between December 2013 and August 2014. Continue reading

Profile: New Scottish police chief Phil Gormley linked to #spycops scandal

Phil Gormley
Donal O’Driscoll and Eveline Lubbers / Undercover Research Group
24 January 2016

In December a small campaign started to have Scotland included in the Pitchford Inquiry, or to have an independant inquiry into undercover policing in Scotland. A lot has happened since. The Scottish government formally asked the Home Secretary to alter the terms of the inquiry and include events in Scotland. Bob Lambert resigned from the University of St Andrews and the Scottish Parliament had its first debate demanding answers about undercover policing in Scotland.

Today we can reveal more details about Scotlands newly appointed Chief Commander Phill Gormley and his involvement with the #spycops scandal. As it turns out in 2005-2006, he had a position that included the oversight of both the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) and the National Public Order Intelligence Unit, (NPOIU).

Continu to the newly added profile of Phil Gormley or a short summary here.
Continue reading

Another #spycop exposed: Carlo Neri confirmed as an undercover

Carlo Neri

Donal O’Driscoll and Eveline Lubbers / Undercover Research Group
18 January 2016

Today we can reveal that Carlo Neri, who was active in the Socialist Party between 2001 and 2006, was in reality an undercover police officer in London, mostly likely deployed by the Special Demonstration Squad.

We have been working on this case since last summer, after people who knew him came to us with their suspicions. Following a long and sometimes winding investigation we were able to identify his real name, and to locate documentation that had his occupation down as police officer at the time he was undercover.

The story goes live today on Newsnight and in The Guardian. The Undercover Research Group presents an in-depth profile detailing Neri, his tour of duty, his relationships and the activities he was involved in.

This expose could not have been done without the efforts of Carlo’s former friends and partners. We salute their efforts in bringing this grim truth to the public scrutiny it deserves. Carlo systematically used people and betrayed trust; he deliberately sought out relationships as part of his cover. We hope in exposing him that some resolution can be found.

This blog post has – for the first time – a detailed account of our investigation. Yet again, the people affected by undercovers in their lives had to go through the painful process of uncovering the truth. Something that could have been avoided if the Pitchford Inquiry would release the list of cover names of undercovers from the Special Demonstration Squad.

Go to the Carlo Neri profile

Continue reading

Two #spycops demos tomorrow and upcoming @COPScampaign public meeting

typewriter partPeter Salmon / Undercover Research Group,

Tomorrow morning (Friday 15 January) there will be two important demonstrations happening in London on the spycops issue. The first is to commemorate the stopping of the destruction of the Stasi files on this date in 1990 and to demand the Met Police stop shredding their own files proving how they spied on people. The second is in solidarity with Kate Wilson, who continues her struggle for justice and answers over why spycop Mark Kennedy was put in her life. If you can make it, please go along. Details below.

Voices of the Spied Upon is a public meeting from the Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance on 21st January and will feature accounts from powerful campaigners such as Kate Wilson, Janet Alder and Stafford Scott, as well as lawyer Jules Carey. For more details see the announcement at the COPS website.

We will be going to all these events, so if you have suspicions or knew an undercover officer and want to talk about your options, do come speak to us.

Continue reading

The Special Branch Files Project, where released files are shared.

files in bagEveline Lubbers / Undercover Research Group,
13 January 2016

Launched today, the Special Branch Files Project is a live-archive of declassified files focussing on the surveillance of political activists and campaigners, revealing political policing of protest since 1968.

In the past three months, I was part of a small team working with a few key journalists who generously made their files available for the project. I am quite proud of what we have been able to put together within a short time and on a shoe-string budget. Here is why.

The Special Branch Files Project is sharing files that have been disclosed in the past and would be refused now. The site provides access to the documents themselves, complemented with engaging analysis in background stories. The documents reveal the intricate details recorded by Britain’s secret police about a range of protest movements in this country since 1968.

Continue reading

The Met Police must suspend domestic extremism unit now

typewriter partPeter Salmon / Undercover Research Group,
8 January 2016

The shocking story of deliberate destruction of police surveillance on Baroness Jenny Jones throws into stark relief what we all feared – the Metropolitan Police are going to obstruct the public inquiry into undercover policing.

Today, the redoubtable Rob Evans of the Guardian broke the story that a whistleblower in the National Domestic Extremism and Disorder Intelligence Unit (the former National Domestic Extremism Unit which employed notorious spycops such as Mark Kennedy) had written to Baroness Jones to reveal the systemic destruction of records relating to her among other allegation of impropriety in the unit. Continue reading