The Undercover Research Group, 15 November 2016
Added to the Undercover Research Group portal today are three more profiles on the works of Bob Lambert:
Subsequent to his retirement from police service in 2007, Bob Lambert – previously an undercover officer with and then operational commander of the Metropolitan Police Special Branch’s Special Demonstration Squad – pursued a second career as an academic, until his exposure as a police spy in October 2011 slowed things down.
The page Bob Lambert and the Muslim Community summarises the many groups and people Lambert associated with in his capacity as a former-police-officer-turned-academic specialising in Islamophobia and de-radicalisation, building on his work with the Met’s Muslim Contact Unit. The other half of this page is Bob Lambert and the Academic Community. Also see Bob Lambert Writing and Speaking.
The intention is to show how Lambert worked his way into networks and discourse subsequent to his retirement from the Metropolitan Police in a manner consistent with the way he did whilst a serving officer, particularly during his time in the Special Demonstration Squad. It also aims to map how he used a relatively small number of individuals to effect his passage into and through much larger numbers of organisations.
A Metropolitan Police anti-terrorism unit set up in 2002 in the UK after the September 11 attacks to ‘thwart extremist attempts to recruit young British Muslims to violent jihad, by working with Islamic communities.’ The unit worked closely with the Muslim Safety Forum in the aftermath of the 7/7 bombings of July 2005. Similar units were subsequently established by other police forces. In October 2008, the MCU it became part of Counter Terrorism Command and it was “merged into the community engagement team” in 2016.
A pilot to work closely with Muslim communities to push out jihadi recruiters and prevent them from taking over the Finsbury Park and the Brixton Mosques, the Unit has been criticised for its choice of partners to reach this goal.
Furthermore, the MCU was set up by Bob Lambert, the former undercover officer and head of the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS). At least two other members of the Unit were former SDS as well. After the undercover scandal broke and Bob Lambert was exposed, the MCU’s focus on building trust has been questioned – as to how much of it was in fact a sophisticated intelligence operation.
Most of what is known about the MCU is taken from the writings of its founder Bob Lambert, most notably his book Countering Al-Qaeda in London: Police and Muslims in Partnership (2011). As a result this profile may be one-sided at points. If you have additional material please get in touch (PGP key available if you wish).