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
Donal O’Driscoll and Eveline Lubbers / Undercover Research Group
24 January 2016
In December a small campaign started to have Scotland included in the Pitchford Inquiry, or to have an independant inquiry into undercover policing in Scotland. A lot has happened since. The Scottish government formally asked the Home Secretary to alter the terms of the inquiry and include events in Scotland. Bob Lambert resigned from the University of St Andrews and the Scottish Parliament had its first debate demanding answers about undercover policing in Scotland.
Today we can reveal more details about Scotlands newly appointed Chief Commander Phill Gormley and his involvement with the #spycops scandal. As it turns out in 2005-2006, he had a position that included the oversight of both the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) and the National Public Order Intelligence Unit, (NPOIU).
Continu to the newly added profile of Phil Gormley or a short summary here.
After the unreserved apology of the Metropolitan Police to the eight women conceding undercover relationships were an abuse of power and violated women’s human rights, Tom Coburg did an overview of the supervisors responsible for the #spycops, their tasking and their behaviour – based on Undercover Research profiles.
Repost of Undercoverinfo blog, by Tom Coburg, originally 20 November 2015
The undercover officers with whom the women had relationships were employed by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS). Four of these officers worked within the MPS’s Special Demonstration Squad (SDS). Other officer worked within the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU).
- Detective Chief Inspector Richard May: described in newspaper articles as Mark Kennedy‘s boss while at the NPOIU. He is noted for confirming to French police that the NDEU had intelligence related to the Tarnac case, which is thought to have come from Kennedy’s attendance at a 2008 meeting of European anarchists in France. However, he also told police that the ‘source of this intelligence will never be revealed and no formal statements will be provided’.
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
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
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
Don’t let the police self-investigations like Operation Herne fool you with their focus on the disbanded Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) – this is not a historic problem. The political secret police are still with us.
The shift from different units leaves us whirling in acronyms. Here, as far as I’m able to tell, is what’s what (corrections welcome!). It’s an alphabet soup of acronyms that swirl before the eyes, so thanks to Jane Lawson for designing a diagram to make it easier to grasp (click to enlarge; right click and open in new tab to have it alongside as you read the post).
Also see the UndercoverResearch page on the Political Secret Police Units
Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, QPM is a leading UK police officer who served as Chief Constable of Merseyside Police before becoming the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service.
Hogan-Howe is known as an outspoken officer. During his time at the Metropolitan police he has had to deal with various high profile events and policing scandals such as Plebgate, the spying on the Lawrence family, the targeting of journalists to obtain their sources and reviews into misbehaviour by undercover police.
Sir David Christopher Veness, CBE, QPM (born 20 September 1947) was Assistant Commissioner for Specialist Operations of the Metropolitan Police from 1994 to 2005 and Under-Secretary-General for Safety and Security for the United Nations until 2008.
Oversight of undercover work
As head of Special Operations, Veness oversaw various units including counter-terrorism and the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS), which targeted protesters. In this role Veness knew and worked closely with Bob Lambert of the SDS. The two men would have a long association, including through the work of the Muslim Safety Forum, and, after both had left the Police, at the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence.
By October 2004, Veness was secretary of the ACPO’s Terrorism and Allied Matters (TAM) board. At the time, TAM was running the reorganised national domestic extremism units, including, including the National Public Order Intelligence Unit and its infiltration of protest movements during the time of Mark Kennedy and others. A number of Veness’s subordinate officers would go on to join the TAM board, including his former deputy Bob Quick who was its chair in 2008-2009.