Scottish ex-officer Paul Hogan spills beans on #spycops unit NPOIU

Paul HoganEveline Lubbers, Undercover Research Group,
24 April 2016.

Updated 27 April 2016: A total of four top Scottish officers involved in the #spycops scandal at management level – and counting…

While the police are throwing their toys out of the pram to keep the Undercover Policing Public Inquiry behind closed doors (Judge Pitchford’s ruling on this expected 3th May), it is quite surprising to find a former #spycop showing off online about his work work – but that’s exactly what Paul Hogan has been doing.

A four-and-half year veteran with the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU), the successor of the original Special Demonstration Squad, Hogan even had a year-long spell as a senior manager within the unit. Soon after excerpts of his LinkedIn profile were posted on Twitter earlier this week (thanks @piombo), Hogan took down his profile picture; when he returned from a golf trip to Turkey with mates and the press started approaching him, the profile disappeared entirely. In the spirit of openness we have archived it below, and included it in our profile of Paul Hogan.

Breaching Scotland Yard’s recently-claimed policy of Neither Confirm Nor Deny in every possible way, Hogan reveals in great detail how in 2007 the NPIOU was invited to Germany to export its experience of spying on anti-G8 activists accrued at the 2005 Gleneagles summit in Scotland, to help colleagues there prepare the infiltration of similar protests in Heiligendamm.

This was the first of a meaningful collaboration between the NPOIU and the German authorities and contributed to their strategic planning leading up to the event in 2007.

From questions raised in the German Parliament we know that six German undercovers came to Gleneagles for the G8 protests; while two British ones, Mark Kennedy and ‘Marco Jacobs’ were involved in the preparations leading up to Heiligendamm, and attended the demonstrations. Further research revealed the existence of the European Coordination Group on Undercover Activities, an informal police network which facilitates the co-ordination and exchange of undercover police across Europe. We also know that cooperation between German police and the British spy units stretches at least as far back as 1995, when undercover SDS officer Peter Francis was infiltrated into a Youth Against Racism in Europe group which went on a summer camp to the Bavarian Forest (with his cover officer Bob Lambert travelling over as well).

Hogan also presented on behalf of NPOIU at a European conference on animal rights, which took place in Finland sometime between January 2006 and July 2007. As Hogan notes, ‘given our experience, UK police were considered to be significant leaders in combating this type of extremism’, and he was subsequently invited to other European member states to develop information sharing protocols.

What more do we possibly need before Theresa May will expand the remit of the Public Inquiry to include the many operations beyond the borders of England and Wales?

Hogan started spreading the word on extremism early on in his career, back in 2003:

As part of my remit I would provide presentations on the capabilities of the unit (NPOIU) to a wide range of partner agencies and interested parties including all law enforcement bodies within the UK and interested commercial partners such as the pharmaceutical industry, often the victim of unwanted Animal Rights extremism.

As an officier of the NPOIU this must have included promoting the usage of undercovers in targeting ‘domestic extremists.’

He also talked to ‘key industry partners on the work of the department in order to develop intelligence sharing opportunities and maximise opportunities.’ – something that sounds close to the work of NETCU, and its liaison with blacklisting group the Consultancy Association, set up by large building companies.

For Hogan it all began whilst working for the Tayside Police (now part of Police Scotland), which deployed him in ‘complex undercover operations and exercises locally and throughout the UK’. After joining NPOIU his career took off immediately: between 2003 and 2007 he rose from ‘Detective Constable – Intelligence Coordination / Field Officer’ to ‘Detective Sergeant – Intelligence Manager / Field Officer Administrator’ with the Unit in London.

One can only wonder why Hogan returned to Scotland after his time with the #spycops unit – which was pretty successful if we have to believe him – first to community policing tasks with the Tayside Police, reorganising an unmotivated team, and onwards to Police Incident Officer as a Detective Inspector after that. He left the police in February 2015 having served for 23 years, it seems before the mandatory retirement period of 30 years and got himself a job as a sales engineer a few months later.

Total of four top Scottish officers at management level in the NPOIU (and counting…)

From his résumé it is perfectly clear that Hogan’s work as an undercover specialist took place in Scotland and all over the UK. His own career path shows that there is considerable cooperation between the Scottish police and the undercover units, and for him personally a spell in the NPOIU proved a useful interlude for him to rise up the ladder to Detective Inspector back in Scotland eighteen months after his return in 2007.

The Sunday Herald revealed in March that Eleanor Mitchell, who was head of Police Scotland’s Professional Standards Department before retiring in 2016, was also linked to the NPOIU. Her biography states she was an expert in animal rights and environmental extremism who was seconded to the London force for six years until 2006. This makes the two Scottish officers Hogan and Mitchell colleagues in the NPIOU at management level between 2003 – 2006.

Furthermore Phil Gormley, now Scotland’s Chief Constable was in the Met from 2003 to 2007. From 2005, he was head of Special Branch and was on the committee who oversaw the NPOIU and the Special Demonstration Squad. Later, ACC Ronnie Liddle, was ACPO ACC for Counter Terrorism in the period December 2012 – February 2014. Based at the Metropolitan Police he was co-ordinator of ‘UK Counter Terrorism functions and operations’, part of which remit he had ‘Responsibility for National Domestic Extremism and Disorder Intelligence Unit, the new name of the undercover unit.

That makes four top Scottish officers involved in the #spycops scandal at management level, responsible for undercover operations.

The remits of the Pitchford Inquiry into undercover policing are limited to operations by English and Welsh forces operating in England and Wales.
Scottish MPs have been pushing for quite some time to have Scotland included in the Pitchford Inquiry, or to have a separate national investigation. Not only is there a long list of exposed undercovers who have been active on Scottish soil, current and recently retired policechiefs have been responsible in the past for what the press north of the border calls the ‘sex spy scandal’.

Paul Hogan has been very open about his role in the spycops units – quite different from the police policy of secrecy around this topic. No doubt, the Pitchford Inquiry would love to hear him as a witness; we hope that he will be as open to them, as he has been to the general public.

The Undercover Research Group is interested in hearing from anyone who may be able to throw further englightment on the workings of the #spycops units. Do get in touch to help us better understand the workings of the NPIOU.

Preview of Paul Hogan’s LinkedIn profile

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