The case of Christian Plowman

Chris PlowmanPeter Salmon / Undercover Research Group
21 March 2016

Anyone who has been following the Pitchford Inquiry in any kind of detail will know that this week’s hearings are fundamental to how it is going to be conducted. At heart is how public or private the whole thing will be. Campaigners are calling for total transparency for justice to be done. The police are naturally demanding it is held in secrecy so nothing about identity or methods slip out – as that would be helping ISIS, paedophiles and organised crime (we kid you not).

At heart of the argument is Neither Confirm Nor Deny (NCND) which has been covered elsewhere, but it is useful to look at some of the evidence the police have submitted as justifying their stance. Particularly in the light of the experience of Christian Plowman.

Plowman was an undercover officer with the Met’s specialist covert policing unit SO10 (also called SCD10). As such he took part in many operations involving going undercover and would run several identities at any one time. Some of his work would revolve around getting close gun-runners and drug dealers.

Yet, in 2013 he published a warts-and-all biography of his time undercover, Crossing the Line, and how it had brought him to the brink of suicide. Continue reading

Open Letter to the Undercover Policing Scrutiny Panel

To the Chair of the National Undercover Scrutiny Panel
(also known as National Oversight Group)

London, 5th October, 2015

Dear Alex Marshall & David Tucker,

As you are probably aware, the Undercover Research Group has been following the National Undercover Scrutiny Panel (a.k.a. the National Oversight Group) quite closely for some time. It is quite clear that for the panel there is a tension between the natural secrecy involved in undercover policing and the failure of public trust that has demanded for more accountability.

It is only fair to acknowledge that our viewpoint is a critical one. However, putting our Continue reading

The Undercover Policing Scrutiny Panel – a whitewash operation exposed…

Capture of tweet

Eveline Lubbers / Undercover Research Group
3 June 2015

Sophie Khan announced to stand down from the Undercover Policing Scrutiny Panel. Via a tweet and a blogpost at the Telegraph site earlier this week; it almost passed unnoticed. Until recently, the existence of this Panel was unknown, even to the Undercover Research Group. But that has changed now. What we found out made us wonder why the likes of Sophie Khan and Ben Bowling – people with a long history of criticising the police and campaigning for justice – decided to join this whitewash operation in the first place.

The National Undercover Scrutiny Panel (or Undercover Policing Oversight Board) is a working group established in 2014 by the College of Policing as ‘part of a set of changes to providing greater transparency and review of undercover policing’. Little is known of it other Continue reading