Eveline Lubbers / Undercover Research Group,
29 January 2016
Last week Commander Richard Walton retired from the Met, and on the same day the Telegraph and the BBC revealed that the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has decided that Walton has a case to answer for misconduct.
Walton was under investigation for talking to an undercover officer spying on the Lawrence family in 1998, while his job was preparing the Met’s answer to the MacPherson Inquiry into corruption around the Stephen Lawrence murder case. The highly inappropriate secret meeting had been set up by then-leader of the Special Demonstration Squad, Bob Lambert. When the Ellison Review interviewed Walton about this in 2014, he chose to change his story after he realised he was going to be critisised. (The findings of the Ellison Report about the spying on the Lawrences made Theresa May decide to have the Pitchford Inquiry).
Though Walton’s retirement was to be expected after 30 years of service in the Met, one wonders why the Commander is free to leave just before the publication of the police watchdog findings.
Retiring or resigning has long been the police tactic of choice to avoid disciplinary action, keeping both a clean record and their pensions. In 2011, 500 officers who were facing investigations had resigned over a two-year period, as Emily Apple wrote. Theresa May reported another 144 officers leaving this way between December 2013 and August 2014. Continue reading
Eveline Lubbers / Undercover Research Group
26 June 2015
For the last 22 years the murder of Stephen Lawrence has hung over Metropolitan Police, and it continues to do so. In 1998 it threatened to topple the then Commissioner Paul Condon. Over the years it has cost jobs and careers. Those of a more junior rank two decades ago and who have since joined the top echelons are finding it will not go away.
In March 2014 it came back to haunt the head of counter-terrorism, Richard Walton. He was temporarily removed from his post for his role in the spying on the Stephen Lawrence Campaign back in 1998, and his case was referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). He is still under investigation – with four other former- officers as Rob Evans explains in the Guardian.
However, the suspension of Walton was – as is shown here – only ever a cosmetic exercise. More importantly, there are several other lines that indicated less than reputable behaviour by the Met. Working on a set of new profiles for the Undercover Research Portal on Richard Walton, undercover officer N81 and their meeting in Bob Lambert’s garden, some questions came up that need an answer, either from the IPCC, Ellison, or the coming Independent Inquiry.
The main focus on a controversial meeting between Walton and undercover officer organised by Bob Lambert, then acting head of the Special Demonstration Squad, must not overshadow other important questions on the spying on black justice campaigns. All the more reason why next year’s public inquiry needs unhindered access to documents and actors involved if the truth is ever to be learned – because it is clear the Met will not be forthcoming. Continue reading
Despite the colossal array of corrupt misdeeds committed by Bob Lambert and his disgraced political secret police unit the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS), his professional associate Stefano Bonino has been moved to write in his defence in Times Higher Education.
Somewhat melodramatically it starts with a reminder of the recent politically motivated killings in France and then says
the SDS maintained a central and defining focus on political violence – most notably street violence conducted by and between far-Left and far-Right groups – and helped to save lives
A central and defining focus should leave plenty of evidence behind it. Yet among the exposed spycops is a central focus on groups who presented little or no threat to life. Continue reading