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
Peter Salmon / Undercover Research Group
6 July 2015
In the last week we have had a successful Freedom of Information request in relation to minutes of the meetings of the Undercover Policing Scrutiny Panel for July 2014 and February 2015. We have also spoken to Peter Jukes, one of the people invited to attend the July 2014 meeting and Sophie Khan who quit the Panel.
Overall there is nothing startling to be revealed. The first meeting appears to have been quite informal, with the focus being on the dilemma of marring the conflicting needs of transparency and the need to break stories on one side, with the need to protect the undercover officers on the other side. That is, how to create public scrutiny without putting the undercovers themselves at risk. The group also seems to go by the alternative title ‘Undercover Policing Oversight Group’.
Since then numbers in attendance seem to have fallen dramatically, with only a third present in some form at the February meeting, and only four apologies. 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
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
Bristle Chris / Undercover Research Group
30 April 2015
So just what did former spycop, SDS manager and later academic Bob Lambert get up to in the late 1990s?
Working on a series of articles about our old friend Dr Bob for the Undercover Research Group’s wiki project, it struck me that it’s just not clear what Lambert did between leaving SDS sometime after August 1998 and the establishment of the Muslim Contact Unit in January 2002.
Biographies – which no doubt he himself penned – indicate that Lambert remained with Metropolitan Police Special Branch since joining it in 1980 (see, for example, Bob Lambert, ‘Reflections on Counter-Terrorism Partnerships in Britain’ (Arches, 2007) – this biography notes that “Bob worked continuously as a Special Branch specialist counter-terrorist/counter-extremist intelligence officer from 1980” until the setting up of MCU at the beginning of 2002). Certainly, no evidence has so far come up to suggest he was involved in, for example, Territorial Policing, that he was transferred to other Special Branch-equivalent units such as the Anti-Terrorist Branch, or that he transferred to a police force other than the Metropolitan Police Service. Continue reading
Peter Salmon / Undercover Research Group
23 April 2015
The role of Assistant Commissioner is the third highest in the policing hierarchy, so when someone is appointed ‘in a new Assistant Commissioner role responsible for the MPS response to the public inquiry on undercover policing’ you know they are taking the matter seriously. Martin Hewitt got this job in June 2014.
It turns out that Hewitt official title is Assistant Commissioner for Professionalism and he has all sorts of interesting roles to those following the sagas of undercover policing and police corruption. It is he who now has oversight of the investigation into the mass shredding of Operation Othona files – a large intelligence based operation investigating corrupt Met officers, including a number associated with the investigating into the deaths of Stephen Lawrence and Daniel Morgan. Both very long standing issues of great sensitivity for the Met. He is also leading the Met’s response to the Daniel Morgan Independent Panel. Continue reading
Marco Jacobs was the assumed identity of an undercover police officer who infiltrated activist groups between 2004 and 2009, first in the Brighton area of southern England and then in Cardiff, south Wales.
However, both South Wales and Metropolitan police have maintained a ‘Neither Confirm Nor Deny’ defence of all aspects of Jacobs’ deployment. On Wednesday 25th March 2015 activists spied upon by Jacobs are in the Royal Courts of Justice in London attempting to strike out these NCND defence. (Picket 9am)
Continue to the Marco Jacobs profile
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
Mark Jenner, alias Mark Cassidy, was an undercover officer who was deployed against left wing groups in North London from 1995-2000, though was most active in the period 1995-99. He worked as part of the Metropolitan Police’s Special Demonstration Squad and much of his infiltration would have served under the supervision of its then head of operations Bob Lambert. His targets were a number of groups based around the Colin Roach Centre, particularly union organising and anti-fascism. It is also believed that some of his work was to monitor groups and individuals who had potential sympathies with Irish republicanism.
He was publicly outed in 2011, and this reached national interest in 2013 when his former partner “Alison” testified before a Home Affairs Select Committee accompanied by an expose in the Guardian.The Metropolitan Police have maintained the position of neither confirming or denying that he was deployed by them.
N.B. Part of the story of Mark Jenner’s deployment – his work with Red Action – is missing. If you are able to help us, even if it is filling in background material from the time, we are keen to hear from you. Likewise, if encountered Jenner as Mark Cassidy and have recollections of him and his activities, we are also interested in hearing from you.
This is just a preview, without references!
Continue to the Mark Jenner profile
The National Domestic Extremism Unit refers to specialist police organisation that began life as the National Coordinator for Domestic Extremism (NCDE) and was subsequently renamed the National Domestic Extremism Unit (NDEU) and more recently the National Domestic Extremism and Disorder Intelligence Unit (NDEDIU). For much of its history it was controlled by the Association of Chief Police Officers Terrorism and Allied Matters Committee, before being transferred to the the Metropolitan Police Service’s Counter Terrorism Command in the wake of the Mark Kennedy undercover scandal.
During its time under the control of ACPO, the NDEU consisted of a group of police units, several of which have gained national attention for their role in the policing of protests and deployment of undercover police into political and activist movements. These units were the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU), National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit (NETCU), National Domestic Extremism Team (NDET). Many began as separate units, or created out of the merger of smaller units around the UK. It was a sub-unit of the NPOIU, the Confidential Intelligence Unit, which ran a number of infiltrators that targeted protest movements. Continue reading