Pitchford fed up with police shielding of #spycops and delaying the Inquiry

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Eveline Lubbers and Dónal O’Driscoll, Undercover Research Group 31 October 2016, published at openDemocracy.

The public inquiry into political undercover policing is already a year in and little progress has been made. The Metropolitan police are engaging in major delay tactics. They are making applications they must know that the inquiry’s Chair, Lord Justice Pitchford, will reject. The latest and most astonishing so far is this one: the police producing anonymous risk assessments arguing for their own anonymity.

The main issues the Pitchford Inquiry is dealing with so far are anonymity and disclosure. To summarise: the people who have been spied upon want transparency, accountability, and above all an end to secrecy around the undercover operations. The police aim for the opposite, they push for an inquiry held behind closed doors, which would publish its findings at the end. Needless to say there is a large gap between the two…

Before deciding on applications for anonymity from former undercover officers (UCOs), however, Justice Pitchford is looking into the very special case of two officers engaged in Operation Motion.

Code-named Jaipur and Karachi, they are employed by the Met to liaise with former members of the political undercover units, the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) and the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPIOU). Their first task was to locate all of the spycops who had served since the SDS was founded in 1968, which was far from easy because the Met had no idea where to find them. On top of that, various former officers hold a serious grudge against the Met, accusing their employer of lack of proper support and health care after they were pulled from their undercover mission. Operation Motion, as explained by the police, is to build trust with former undercovers, to deal with their welfare and to undertake assessments of the risks for exposure.

With characteristic cynicism, the Met only started caring about the spycops under the threat of them spilling the beans in the Pitchford Inquiry.

Who are the two officers the Met hired to pamper the main witnesses in the inquiry, and why is it a bad idea to keep their identities secret?

Read on at openDemocarcy