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.
Gormley was head of Special Branch, just when the SDS was running Carlo Neri, the undercover officer who was exposed earlier this week for infiltrating the Socialist Party 2001-2006. The story, based on research by the Undercover Research Group, was brought by BBC Newsnight and the Guardian. Neri’s tour of duty included having several long-term relationships; two women are now taking legal steps against the Met.
Additionally, between 2004-2008, Gormley was Secretary of ACPO’s Terrorism and Allied Matters (APCO TAM) committee. This role included the oversight of the second #spycop unit, the NPOIU, which was running notorious undercovers such as Mark Kennedy, Lynn Watson and Marco Jacobs at the time. All three were involved in the counter-mobilisation and protests against the 2005 G8 Summit in Scotland. The G8 is a significant period as it was one of great activity by NPOIU, and Mark Kennedy claimed that he’d been told his reports were going direct to the desk of Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Questions were raised in Scottish media today, with MSP Neil Findlay stating in the Sunday Herald:
Phil Gormley has taken up a very important job with Police Scotland. He needs to get off on the right footing, so should be completely open about what he knows about the SDS, the NPOIU and the discredited officers who worked for them. If he fails to do this then this issue will hang over him and questions that need answered won’t go away.
The article also quoted Donal O’Driscoll, a spokesman for the Undercover Research Group, saying:
Phil Gormley needs to be transparent and clear about his role overseeing the Special Demonstration Squad and in relation to the National Public Order Intelligence Unit.
– Paul Hutcheon, Police Scotland Chief Constable in second undercover police ‘sex spy’ unit row The Scotland Sunday Herald, 24 January 2016.
Scotland’s former counter-terrorism chief also linked to #spycops unit.
Another Scottish paper revealed that Ronnie Liddle, Scotland’s former counter-terrorism chief was seconded to the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Intelligence Unit (CTIU), responsible for undercover police, in 2012. Part of his remit was overseeing domestic extremism, including officers spying on protest groups in Britain. In his article in the Sunday Mail, Billy Briggs quotes us as well:
Undercover Research Group – who have exposed the activities of undercover police via the Special Branch Files Project – also say Pitchford must investigate Scots police.
URG’s Donal O’Driscoll said: “Liddle’s secondment shows it is clear that the involvement of Scottish police in spying on political movements is one of long standing and goes to the highest ranks.
“It cannot make sense to treat Scottish police separately from those of England and Wales by excluding them from being examined by the Pitchford Inquiry.”
-Billy Briggs, Revealed: Scots counter-terrorism chief worked for undercover Met squad now under investigation Sunday Mail, 24 January 2016.