Did undercover cop organise one of Londons largest riots?

On June 18th 1999 a car skidded across a road in the financial heart of London. As traffic was blocked thousands of anti capitalist protesters including Reclaim the Streets barged their way into various corporate buildings.

The J18 Carnival Against Global Capitalism according to George Monbiot ‘went well beyond non-violent protest. According to the police, 42 people were injured and over £1m of damage was done. One building was singled out: the London International Financial Futures Exchange (Liffe), where derivatives were traded. Though protesters entered the building at 1.40pm, the police did not arrive until 4.15pm.’

Jim Boyling’s car blockading the road

A man who was in that car was Detective Constable Andrew James ‘Jim’ Boyling – an undercover cop. In Monbiot’s Guardian article ‘He alleges that the same man helped organise a street party that went wrong and turned into the worst riot in London since the poll tax demonstrations.’

I filmed his car being pulled furiously away by cops (video still above) once they manage to break the steering lock.

Monbiot continues
‘After furious recriminations from the Lord Mayor and the people who ran the Liffe building, the City of London police conducted an inquiry. It admitted that their criticisms were justified, and that the police’s performance was “highly unsatisfactory”. The problem, it claimed, was that the police had no information about what the targets and plans of the protesters would be, and had no idea that Liffe was in the frame. The riot was “unforeseen”.

undercover cop Jim Boyling

Was it really unseen? The Met Police had a cop working undercover on organising the carnival and which buildings would be occupied.

Jordan was a member of “the logistics group that organised the tactics for J18. There were about 10 of us in the group and we met weekly for over six months.” Among the other members, he says, was Boyling. “The 10 of us … were the only people who knew the whole plan before the day itself and who had decided that the main target would be Liffe.”

A Reclaim the Streets activist John Jordan said Boyling who went undercover with the name of Jim Sutton ‘drove one of the two cars that were used to block the road to the building.’

Activists were furious when Sutton/Boyling ‘accidentally’ left the window open allowing six of his fellow cops to break the steering lock and push it out of the way.
Undercover cop Jim ‘Sutton’ Boyling

Monbiot lays it out
‘It is hard to think of a more serious allegation. For six months an undercover officer working for the Metropolitan police was instrumental in planning a major demonstration, which ended up causing injuries and serious damage to property. Yet the police appear to have failed to pass this intelligence to the City of London force, leaving the target of the protest unprotected.’

Find this story at 4 February 2014

BBC Newsnight broadcast a report on Boyling, Watch it here at 4 February 2014

or watch the story at 4 February 2014 here

Five police forces investigated over alleged Stephen Lawrence smear campaign; Police fractured my arm, says ‘smear victim’

The investigation into alleged police attempts to smear the Stephen Lawrence campaign and undermine the credibility of witnesses attending the Macpherson inquiry into the black teenager’s racist murder is focusing on the activities of five forces, The Independent has learnt.

Investigators are understood to be waiting for senior officers from Avon and Somerset Constabulary and West Midlands Police to complete urgent trawls of their records in relation to possible surveillance or intelligence gathering operations carried out in Bristol and Birmingham.

The cities, alongside Bradford and Manchester, hosted regional sittings of the Macpherson Inquiry in 1998 where race relations campaigners aired a string of grievances against their local forces over stop and search and other flashpoint issues.

The former Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police, Sir Norman Bettison, who is already at the centre of an Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) inquiry into an alleged cover-up in the wake of the Hillsborough disaster, was referred to the watchdog this week by Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson.

It followed revelations that leading anti-racism campaigner Mohammed Amran was the subject of a potentially damaging special branch report prior to his giving evidence to the inquiry in Bradford. A number of junior officers from West Yorkshire are also being investigated by the IPCC after being referred by the present Chief Constable.

Greater Manchester Police has also been referred over an internal memo suggesting intelligence was gathered on individuals or groups attending the inquiry in the city.

The cases are likely to be reviewed by Mark Ellison QC – who successfully prosecuted Gary Dobson and David Norris for Stephen’s murder in 2012 – as part of an investigation into the Metropolitan Police following claims of a smear campaign against the teenager’s family and friends made by a former undercover officer.

The inquiry will need to uncover whether the regional forces were acting on behalf of the Met, which was embroiled in one of the biggest crises in its history following the repeated failings to investigate the student’s 1993 murder. It was eventually found to be “institutionally racist” by Macpherson.

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Bob Jones met Chief Constable Chris Sims on Monday to discuss the issue. In a statement the force confirmed it was examining material to see whether any potentially inappropriate intelligence or surveillance activity had taken place.

A team of officers from Avon and Somerset Constabulary have now begun a second trawl of documents after the Home Secretary Theresa May ordered forces nationwide to search their records. A first hunt carried out by an assistant chief constable was said to have discovered no incriminating material. Forces have until next Wednesday to report their findings to Ms May.

Mr Amran, 37, who became the youngest ever Commissioner for Racial Equality (CRE) following his role as a peacemaker in the 1995 Bradford riots, has been told he will not know for at least two weeks what evidence was gathered against him although it is not believed he was placed under surveillance.

His lawyer, Ruth Bundey, said: “He is someone who has helped and advised the authorities in the past and it is very disconcerting for him not to know what is involved here – other than to have been told that it is ‘alarming.’”

It is unclear whether evidence allegedly gathered about Mr Amran resurfaced in a further dossier put together by West Yorkshire Police as part of its alleged attempt to prevent him being re-elected by the CRE. The dossier led Ms Bundey to pursue a successful case of racial discrimination against the force, who settled out of court in 2002.

Mr Amran told The Independent that he was repeatedly arrested after publicly questioning the policing of in Bradford’s multi-racial community.

Despite widespread concern over policing and community relations leading up to the 1995 riots, more disturbances took place in the city in the summer of 2001.

“I challenged the police openly after the 1995 riots and that created a reaction that made my life very difficult,” Mr Amran said. “The arrest I remember most vividly came when I was going to my family home and three officers grabbed me and told me I was under arrest.

“They said ‘You should not be here.’ I was letting myself into my house at the time and they said ‘drop the keys. You are under arrest.’ I sustained a hairline fracture of my arm. They just let me go. On another occasion I was dragged from my car by police. I told them who I was and they didn’t believe me.”

Ian Herbert, Jonathan Brown
Saturday, 6 July 2013

Find this story at 6 July 2013

© independent.co.uk

Dozens of undercover officers could face prosecution, says police chief

Chief constable leading investigation also says he will look at claims that Stephen Lawrence campaigners were spied on

Dozens of police officers could be put on trial for stealing the identities of dead children, and sleeping with female activists they were spying on, according to the police chief leading an inquiry into Metropolitan police undercover work against protest groups.

Mick Creedon, the chief constable of Derbyshire, also said his team would investigate claims from a police whistleblower, Peter Francis, that senior officers wanted him to spy on, and even undermine, the Stephen Lawrence campaign.

In an interview, Creedon offered a “100%” assurance the matter would be properly investigated. He said prosecutors were already being asked to consider whether criminal offences had been committed by generations of undercover operatives planted in protest groups over the past 45 years.

Earlier on Monday, David Cameron said he was “deeply concerned by revelations from Francis, a former undercover police officer who said he was asked to gather intelligence that could be used to “smear” the campaign for justice for Stephen Lawrence, who was stabbed to death in a racist attack in 1993.

The prospect that police officers could be prosecuted will alarm senior officers, who have struggled to manage the fallout from the revelations

On Monday morning, the prime minister’s spokesman hinted that the government may order an independent inquiry into Francis’s revelations. Any inquiry would have to “command the family’s confidence as well as that of the public”, he said.

Creedon is already investigating two top-secret Met units: the SDS, which was disbanded in 2008, and another squad – the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU) – which still operates.

He said his review was particularly focused on the role of commanding officers: “It’s looking right up the chain of command,” he said. “We have mapped, putting it bluntly, every senior officer, every commander, every deputy citizen commissioner, right up to and including home secretaries.”

The chief constable refused to be drawn on the specifics of Francis’s allegations, but he said that, if proved, they would be “not something that would sit comfortably with any police officer”.

Creedon was asked to take over the inquiry, Operation Herne, in February after it was revealed that operatives working for the two spy units had used the identities of dead children. Weeks later, he conceded that the use of dead children’s identities had been “common practice” in the SDS, and had continued in the NPOIU until around 2001.

In the interview, parts of which are being broadcast on Channel 4 on Monday night, he told the Guardian and the Dispatches programme that he was getting advice on whether dozens of undercover police who used the identities had committed criminal acts. “That is a consideration. We are getting legal advice on that,” he said.

“I am looking to operatives to explain why they did it and why they were trained to do it and how they did it.”

Keith Vaz, the MP and chair of the home affairs select committee, has already called on Scotland Yard to inform parents whose children’s identities were used.

But Creedon said it was highly unlikely he would contact the parents, because to do so would require confirming the false identities used by former operatives.

“The way the world is now, that will fizz around the internet networks instantly,” he said, adding that he saw little benefit in “raking up” the issue with parents who would otherwise remain oblivious.

He also declined to apologise to women who had been duped into relationships with police spies. But he added: “This is completely abhorrent. I use that term carefully. It should not have happened and I’ve always been clear about that. Was it routine? Was it actually part of the tactics? Was it quite deliberate and was it a way of infiltrating, or was it an occasional consequence? I don’t know the answer to that question right now.”

Creedon said prosecutors would also decide whether operatives who had sexual relationships were breaking the law.

“Well, we need to get advice from the CPS [Crown Prosecution Service] about whether an undercover officer having a sexual relationship would be a criminal offence,” he said. “We’re waiting for that advice from the CPS, and it will be wrong for me to speculate.”

Asked if the officers may end up in court, he replied: “It’s a possibility, yes.”

However, he said the use by police of deception in sexual relationships needed to be understood in a wider context. “Around the country there are many people involved in sexual relationships who lie about their status,” he said. “There are many people who say they’re not married when they are married. It happens.”

Operation Herne, which is costing the Met £1.6m a year, was launched in 2011. A staff of around 30 officers – almost all of them Met employees – have been sifting through 55,000 documents and interviewing former undercover police officers and their supervisors. Four specific cases are being separately supervised by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.Creedon refused to be drawn on when the inquiry would be complete but Craig Mackey, the deputy commissioner of the Met, has previously indicated it may not conclude until 2016, meaning the five-year inquiry would have cost over £7.5m.

Creedon said he did not know if the findings of his inquiry would ever be made public.

He said he was determined to “keep some balance” in his investigation: “Herne is not about castigating the 100 or so SDS officers that served over 40 years, some of whom were incredibly brave.”

The chief constable rejected the suggestion that it would be more appropriate for the inquiry to be conducted by an independent figure or regulator.

“There has always been public concern about police investigating the police, but I’ll be brutally honest: there is no one as good at doing it as the police,” he said. “We don’t seek to hide things. We do actually seek to get the truth and we do it properly and I frankly find it almost insulting that people suggest that in some way, because I’m a police officer, I’m not going to search the truth.”

Paul Lewis and Rob Evans
The Guardian, Monday 24 June 2013 14.08 BST

Find this story at 24 June 2013
© 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies.

How police spies ‘tried to smear the family of Stephen Lawrence’: Undercover officer reveals how superiors wanted him to find ‘dirt’

Peter Francis claims officers told him to dig into murdered teenager’s family
He posed as an anti-racist activist following the death
Victim’s mother said: ‘Nothing can justify… trying to discredit the family’
Raises further questions about police surveillance of activist groups
David Cameron demands that Scotland Yard investigates the damaging claim

An undercover policeman revealed last night that he took part in an operation to smear the family of Stephen Lawrence.

Peter Francis said his superiors wanted him to find ‘dirt’ that could be used against members of the murdered teenager’s family.

The spy said he was also tasked with discrediting Stephen’s friend who witnessed the stabbing and campaigners angry at the failure to bring his killers to justice.

Spy: Peter Francis said he was asked by senior officers in the Met Police to find information to smear the family of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence

Worried: The Prime Minister said today that Scotland Yard must investigate the damaging claims

He added that senior officers deliberately withheld his role from Sir William Macpherson, who led a public inquiry into the bungled police investigation.
‘They wanted any intelligence’ Peter Francis on ‘spying’

And this one’s for Stephen… stars sing for Lawrence fund: Emeli Sandé and Jessie J to perform at concert to mark 20th anniversary of his murder
NHS chief ‘offered bribe to hush up death of my baby’: Father’s shock at scandal-hit boss’s £3,000 cash deal
The secrets of my friend the Moors murderer: For 25 years he has been visiting Britain’s most notorious killer, now Ian Brady’s only confidant – and heir – reveals all

Francis said senior officers were afraid that anger at the failure to investigate the teenager’s racist killing would spiral into disorder on the streets. They had ‘visions of Rodney King’, whose beating at the hands of police led to the 1992 LA riots, he said.

David Cameron has this morning urged Scotland Yard to launch a probe into what happened.

‘The Prime Minister is deeply concerned by reports that the police wanted to smear Stephen Lawrence’s family and would like the Metropolitan police to investigate immediately,’ A No10 spokesperson said.

The revelations mark the most extraordinary chapter so far in the sorry history of Scotland Yard’s jaw-dropping undercover operations.

Stephen Lawrence was the victim of a racist murder in 1993. It was one of the highest profile racial killings in UK history

The whistleblower is one of several to come forward to reveal deeply suspect practices by those ordered to infiltrate political protest groups from the 1980s onwards.

Yesterday Stephen’s mother Doreen said being targeted by an undercover officer was the most surprising thing she had learned about the marathon inquiry. She said: ‘Out of all the things I’ve found out over the years, this certainly has topped it.

‘Nothing can justify the whole thing about trying to discredit the family and people around us.’

The news will further inflame critics of covert policing of activist groups and raises questions over whether a police review will flush out all malpractice.’

The 20-year-old operation was revealed in a joint investigation by The Guardian and Channel 4’s Dispatches being broadcast tonight.

Francis posed as an anti-racist activist during four years he spent living undercover among protest groups following Stephen’s murder in April 1993.

The former officer said he came under ‘huge and constant pressure’ to ‘hunt for disinformation’ that might be used to undermine those arguing for a better investigation into the murder.

He now wants a full public inquiry into the undercover policing of protest groups, which he labelled ‘morally reprehensible’ in the past.

He said: ‘I had to get any information on what was happening in the Stephen Lawrence campaign.

‘They wanted the campaign to stop. It was felt it was going to turn into an elephant. Throughout my deployment there was almost constant pressure on me personally to find out anything I could that would discredit these campaigns.’

Mr Francis joins a number of whistle blowers who infiltrated protest groups for the Met Police

Francis was also involved in an ultimately failed effort to discredit Duwayne Brooks, a close friend of Lawrence who was with him on the night he was murdered.

The former spy trawled through hours of CCTV from a demonstration to find evidence that led to Mr Brooks being arrested and charged with violent disorder in October 1993. However, the case was thrown out by a judge as an abuse of the legal process.

Family: Stephen Lawrence’s mother Doreen and ex-husband Neville, Stephen’s father

The spy monitored a number of ‘black justice’ campaigns, involving relatives of mostly black men who had died in suspicious circumstances in police custody.

But he said his handlers were most interested in any information he could gather about the several groups campaigning over the death of Stephen.

Although Francis did not meet the Lawrence family, he passed back ‘hearsay’ about them to his superiors.

Mrs Lawrence said she was always baffled why family liaison officers were recording the identities of everyone entering and leaving their household following her son’s murder.

She said the family had always suspected police had been gathering evidence about her visitors to discredit them but had no ‘concrete evidence’.

In 1997, Francis argued that the Met should ‘come clean’ over the existence of its undercover operation to Sir William and his inquiry.

But commanders opted for secrecy and claimed it was for the public good as there would be ‘battling on the streets’ if the public ever found out.
‘It just makes me really angry’: Doreen Lawrence

Francis was a member of a covert unit known as the Special Demonstration Squad. Set up to combat protests against the Vietnam war in 1968, the SDS was funded by the Home Office to operate under the radar for four decades.

Using the undercover alias Pete Black, he worked between 1993 and 1997 infiltrating a group named Youth Against Racism in Europe.

He said he was one of four undercover officers who were also required to feed back intelligence about the campaigns for justice over the death of Stephen. The now disbanded unit has already been struck by controversy after its spies fathered children with their targets.

An external investigation of past undercover deployments is being undertaken by a team of officers led by Derbyshire chief constable Mick Creedon.

Pete Francis monitored a number of ‘black justice’ campaigns, involving relatives of mostly black men who had died in suspicious circumstances in police custody

Mr Brooks always suspected he was a victim of a dirty tricks campaign by police. In an interview six years after the murder he said he felt the police ‘investigated us more thoroughly than they investigated the boys’ – referring to those behind the killing.

Jack Straw, the former home secretary who in 1997 ordered the inquiry that led to the Macpherson report, said he was stunned.

He said: ‘I should have been told of anything that was current, post the election of Tony Blair’s government in early May 1997. But much more importantly, [the] Macpherson inquiry should have been told.’

Lord Condon, Met Commissioner between 1993 and 2000, said he was not aware any information had been withheld from Sir William.

A Met spokesman said: ‘The claims in relation to Stephen Lawrence’s family will bring particular upset to them and we share their concerns.’

These revelations and others about undercover police officers are contained in the book Undercover by Paul Lewis and Rob Evans.

UNDERCOVER: THE TRUE STORY OF BRITAIN’S SECRET POLICE by Rob Evans and Paul Lewis is published by Guardian Faber at £12.99. Please follow this link to order a copy.

By Chris Greenwood

PUBLISHED: 21:50 GMT, 23 June 2013 | UPDATED: 11:12 GMT, 25 June 2013

Find this story at 23 June 2013

© Associated Newspapers Ltd

Police ‘smear’ campaign targeted Stephen Lawrence’s friends and family

Exclusive: former undercover officer Peter Francis says superiors wanted him to find ‘dirt’ shortly after 1993 murder

Stephen Lawrence who was murdered in 1993 and whose death has been the subject of a long-running police investigation. Photograph: Rex Features

A police officer who spent four years living undercover in protest groups has revealed how he participated in an operation to spy on and attempt to “smear” the family of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence, the friend who witnessed his fatal stabbing and campaigners angry at the failure to bring his killers to justice.

Peter Francis, a former undercover police officer turned whistleblower, said his superiors wanted him to find “dirt” that could be used against members of the Lawrence family, in the period shortly after Lawrence’s racist murder in April 1993.

He also said senior officers deliberately chose to withhold his role spying on the Lawrence campaign from Sir William Macpherson, who headed a public inquiry to examine the police investigation into the death.

Francis said he had come under “huge and constant pressure” from superiors to “hunt for disinformation” that might be used to undermine those arguing for a better investigation into the murder. He posed as an anti-racist activist in the mid-1990s in his search for intelligence.

“I had to get any information on what was happening in the Stephen Lawrence campaign,” Francis said. “They wanted the campaign to stop. It was felt it was going to turn into an elephant.

“Throughout my deployment there was almost constant pressure on me personally to find out anything I could that would discredit these campaigns.”

Francis also describes being involved in an ultimately failed effort to discredit Duwayne Brooks, a close friend of Lawrence who was with him on the night he was killed and the main witness to his murder. The former spy found evidence that led to Brooks being arrested and charged in October 1993, before the case was thrown out by a judge.
Peter Francis, the former undercover police officer turned whistleblower. Photograph: Graham Turner for the Guardian

The disclosures, revealed in a book about undercover policing published this week, and in a joint investigation by the Guardian and Channel 4’s Dispatches being broadcast on Monday, will reignite the controversy over covert policing of activist groups.

Lawrence’s mother, Doreen, said the revelations were the most surprising thing she had learned about the long-running police investigation into her son’s murder: “Out of all the things I’ve found out over the years, this certainly has topped it.”

She added: “Nothing can justify the whole thing about trying to discredit the family and people around us.”

In a statement, the Metropolitan police said it recognised the seriousness of the allegations – and acknowledged their impact. A spokesman said the claims would “bring particular upset” to the Lawrence family and added: “We share their concerns.”

Jack Straw, the former home secretary who in 1997 ordered the inquiry that led to the 1999 Macpherson report, said: “I’m profoundly shocked by this and by what amounts to a misuse of police time and money and entirely the wrong priorities.” Straw is considering personally referring the case to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Francis was a member of a controversial covert unit known as the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS). A two-year investigation by the Guardian has already revealed how undercover operatives routinely adopted the identities of dead children and formed long-term sexual relationships with people they were spying on.

The past practices of undercover police officers are the subject of what the Met described as “a thorough review and investigation” called Operation Herne, which is being overseen by Derbyshire’s chief constable, Mick Creedon.

A spokesman said: “Operation Herne is a live investigation, four strands of which are being supervised by the Independent Police Complaints Commission, and it would be inappropriate to pre-judge its findings.”

Francis has decided to reveal his true identity so he can openly call for a public inquiry into undercover policing of protest. “There are many things that I’ve seen that have been morally wrong, morally reprehensible,” he said. “Should we, as police officers, have the power to basically undermine political campaigns? I think that the clear answer to that is no.”

Francis has been co-operating with the Guardian as a confidential source since 2011, using his undercover alias Pete Black. He assumed the undercover persona between 1993 and 1997, infiltrating a group named Youth Against Racism in Europe. He said he was one of four undercover officers who were also required to feed back intelligence about the campaigns for justice over the death of Lawrence.

Francis said senior officers were afraid that anger at the failure to investigate the teenager’s racist killing would spiral into disorder on the streets, and had “visions of Rodney King”, whose beating at the hands of police led to the 1992 LA riots.

Francis monitored a number of “black justice” campaigns, involving relatives of mostly black men who had died in suspicious circumstances in police custody.

However, he said that his supervising officers were most interested in whatever information he could gather about the large number of groups campaigning over the death of Lawrence.

Although Francis never met the Lawrence family, who distanced themselves from political groups, he said he passed back “hearsay” about them to his superiors. He said they wanted information that could be used to undermine the campaign.

One operation Francis participated in involved coming up with evidence purporting to show Brooks involved in violent disorder. Francis said he and another undercover police officer trawled through hours of footage from a May 1993 demonstration, searching for evidence that would incriminate Brooks.

Police succeeded in having Brooks arrested and charged with criminal damage, but the case was thrown out by a judge as an abuse of the legal process. Francis said the prosecution of Brooks was part of a wider drive to damage the growing movement around Lawrence’s death: “We were trying to stop the campaign in its tracks.”

Doreen Lawrence said that in 1993 she was always baffled about why family liaison officers were recording the identities of everyone entering and leaving their household. She said the family had always suspected police had been gathering evidence about her visitors to discredit the family.

“We’ve talked about that several times but we never had any concrete [evidence],” she said.

There is no suggestion that the family liaison officers knew the purpose of the information they collected.

Francis claims that the purpose of monitoring people visiting the Lawrence family home was in order “to be able to formulate intelligence on who was going into the house with regards to which part of the political spectrum, if any, they were actually in”. The former policeman added: “It would determine maybe which way the campaign’s likely to go.”

In 1997, Francis argued that his undercover operation should be disclosed to Macpherson, who was overseeing the public inquiry into the Met’s handling of the murder. “I was convinced the SDS should come clean,” he said.

However his superiors decided not to pass the information on to the inquiry, he said. He said he was told there would be “battling on the streets” if the public ever found out about his undercover operation.

Straw said that neither he nor Macpherson were informed about the undercover operations. “I should have been told of anything that was current, post the election of Tony Blair’s government in early May 1997,” he said.

“But much more importantly, [the] Macpherson inquiry should have been told, and also should have been given access to the results of this long-running and rather expensive undercover operation.”

Rob Evans and Paul Lewis
The Guardian, Monday 24 June 2013

Find this story at 24 June 2013
© 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies.

The Police’s Dirty Secret: Channel 4 Dispatches

Paul Lewis reports on allegations that members of a clandestine Metropolitan unit employed ethically dubious tactics, including inappropriate sexual relationships and deceit, to spy on people – claims apparently substantiated by the personal testimony of a whistleblower who operated undercover for four years. The programme investigates the actions of those tasked with infiltrating political campaigns and protest groups, and speaks to the women who say they were duped into intimate relationships with men they didn’t know were serving police officers.

Find this story at july 2013

McLibel leaflet was co-written by undercover police officer Bob Lambert

Exclusive: McDonald’s sued green activists in long-running David v Goliath legal battle, but police role only now exposed

Bob Lambert posed as a radical activist named Bob Robinson.

An undercover police officer posing for years as an environmental activist co-wrote a libellous leaflet that was highly critical of McDonald’s, and which led to the longest civil trial in English history, costing the fast-food chain millions of pounds in fees.

The true identity of one of the authors of the “McLibel leaflet” is Bob Lambert, a police officer who used the alias Bob Robinson in his five years infiltrating the London Greenpeace group, is revealed in a new book about undercover policing of protest, published next week.

McDonald’s famously sued green campaigners over the roughly typed leaflet, in a landmark three-year high court case, that was widely believed to have been a public relations disaster for the corporation. Ultimately the company won a libel battle in which it spent millions on lawyers.

Lambert was deployed by the special demonstration squad (SDS) – a top-secret Metropolitan police unit that targeted political activists between 1968 until 2008, when it was disbanded. He co-wrote the defamatory six-page leaflet in 1986 – and his role in its production has been the subject of an internal Scotland Yard investigation for several months.

At no stage during the civil legal proceedings brought by McDonald’s in the 1990s was it disclosed that a police infiltrator helped author the leaflet.
The McLibel two: Helen Steel and David Morris, outside a branch of McDonald’s in London in 2005 after winning their case in the European court of human rights. Photograph: Martin Argles for the Guardian

A spokesman for the Met said the force “recognises the seriousness of the allegations of inappropriate behaviour and practices involving past undercover deployments”. He added that a number of allegations surrounding the undercover officers were currently being investigated by a team overseen by the chief constable of Derbyshire police, Mick Creedon.

And in remarks that come closest to acknowledging the scale of the scandal surrounding police spies, the spokesman said: “At some point it will fall upon this generation of police leaders to account for the activities of our predecessors, but for the moment we must focus on getting to the truth.”

Lambert declined to comment about his role in the production of the McLibel leaflet. However, he previously offered a general apology for deceiving “law abiding members of London Greenpeace”, which he said was a peaceful campaign group.

Lambert, who rose through the ranks to become a spymaster in the SDS, is also under investigation for sexual relationships he had with four women while undercover, one of whom he fathered a child with before vanishing from their lives. The woman and her son only discovered that Lambert was a police spy last year.

The internal police inquiry is also investigating claims raised in parliament that Lambert ignited an incendiary device at a branch of Debenhams when infiltrating animal rights campaigners. The incident occurred in 1987 and the explosion inflicted £300,000 worth of damage to the branch in Harrow, north London. Lambert has previously strongly denied he planted the incendiary device in the Debenhams store.
While McDonald’s won the initial legal battle, at great expense, it was seen as a PR disaster. Photograph: Image Broker/Rex Features

Lambert’s role in helping compose the McLibel leaflet is revealed in ‘Undercover: The True Story of Britain’s Secret Police’, which is published next week. An extract from the book will be published in the Guardian Weekend magazine. A joint Guardian/Channel 4 investigation into undercover policing will be broadcast on Dispatches on Monday evening.

Lambert was one of two SDS officers who infiltrated London Greenpeace; the second, John Dines, had a two-year relationship with Helen Steel, who later became the co-defendant in the McLibel case. The book reveals how Steel became the focus of police surveillance operations. She had a sexual relationship with Dines, before he also disappeared without a trace.

Dines gained access to the confidential legal advice given to Steel and her co-defendant that was written by Keir Starmer, then a barrister known for championing radical causes. The lawyer was advising the activists on how to defend themselves against McDonald’s. He is now the director of public prosecutions in England and Wales.

Lambert was lauded by colleagues in the covert unit for his skilful infiltration of animal rights campaigners and environmentalists in the 1980s. He succeeded in transforming himself from a special branch detective into a long-haired radical activist who worked as a cash-in-hand gardener. He became a prominent member of London Greenpeace, around the time it began campaigning against McDonald’s in 1985. The leaflet he helped write made wide-ranging criticisms of the company, accusing it of destroying the environment, exploiting workers and selling junk food.

Four sources who were either close to Lambert at the time, or involved in the production of the leaflet, have confirmed his role in composing the libellous text. Lambert confided in one of his girlfriends from the era, although he appeared keen to keep his participation hidden. “He did not want people to know he had co-written it,” Belinda Harvey said.

Paul Gravett, a London Greenpeace campaigner, said the spy was one of a small group of around five activists who drew up the leaflet over several months. Another close friend from the time recalls Lambert was really proud of the leaflet. “It was like his baby, he carried it around with him,” the friend said.

When Lambert’s undercover deployment ended in 1989, he vanished, claiming that he had to flee abroad because he was being pursued by special branch. None of his friends or girlfriends suspected that special branch was his employer.

It was only later that the leaflet Lambert helped to produce became the centre of the huge trial. Even though the activists could only afford to distribute a few hundred copies of the leaflet, McDonald’s decided to throw all of its legal might at the case, suing two London Greenpeace activists for libel.

Two campaigners – Steel, who was then a part-time bartender, and an unemployed postal worker, Dave Morris – unexpectedly stood their ground and refused to apologise.
Steel and Morris outside the high court at the start of the first proceedings in the McLibel trial in 1990. Photograph: Photofusion/UIG/ Getty Images

Over 313 days in the high court, the pair defended themselves, with pro bono assistance from Starmer, as they could not afford to hire any solicitors or barristers. In contrast, McDonald’s hired some of the best legal minds at an estimated cost of £10m. During the trial, legal argument largely ignored the question of who wrote the McLibel leaflet, focusing instead on its distribution to members of the public.

In 1997, a high court judge ruled that much of the leaflet was libellous and ordered the two activists to pay McDonald’s £60,000 in damages. This sum was reduced on appeal to £40,000 – but McDonald’s never enforced payment.

It was a hollow victory for the company; the long-running trial had exposed damaging stories about its business and the quality of the food it was selling to millions of customers around the world. The legal action, taking advantage of Britain’s much-criticised libel laws, was seen as a heavy handed and intimidating way of crushing criticism. However, the role of undercover police in the story remained, until now, largely unknown.

On Friday, Morris said the campaign against the burger chain was successful “despite the odds overwhelmingly stacked against us in the legal system and up against McDonald’s massive and relentless advertising and propaganda machine.

“We now know that other shadowy forces were also trying to undermine our efforts in the most disgusting, but ultimately futile ways. All over the world police and secret agents infiltrate opposition movements in order to protect the rich and powerful but as we have seen in so many countries recently people power and the pursuit of truth and justice is unstoppable, even faced with the most repressive and unacceptable Stasi-like tactics.”

Sign up for the Guardian Today

Our editors’ picks for the day’s top news and commentary delivered to your inbox each morning.
Sign up for the daily email

What’s this?
More from the Guardian
The six types of atheist 15 Jul 2013
Judy Murray doesn’t deserve this sniping 14 Jul 2013
Tyson Gay ban: what is oxilofrine? 15 Jul 2013
California wildfire burns seven homes and leads to evacuations 17 Jul 2013
As police arrest British fugitives in Spain, are the days of the Costa del Crime numbered? 14 Jul 2013
Related information
Business
Food & drink industry · McDonald’s ·
UK news
Police ·
Environment
Activism ·
Law

Why my little community is saying no to McDonald’s

18 Jul 2013

Garry Muratore: Tecoma residents have made it clear: we do not want McDonald’s in our small community. Our ongoing fight has brought the best out of all of us

17 Jul 2013

McDonald’s 34,492 restaurants: where are they?

17 Jul 2013

McDonald’s opens first branch in Vietnam

17 Jul 2013

McDonald’s seeks injunction against Victorian protesters

Burgers and nuggets still dominate UK restaurant children’s menus – report

17 Jul 2013

Little fresh fruit or veg on offer in major high street eateries, research by Soil Association and Organix finds

Paul Lewis and Rob Evans
The Guardian, Friday 21 June 2013 14.54 BST

Find this story at 21 June 2013

© 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.

Second police spy says Home Office knew of theft of children’s identities

Former undercover officer Peter Francis says department helped spies by providing false passports in dead children’s names

Peter Francis, the former undercover police officer turned whistleblower. Photograph: Graham Turner for the Guardian

A second police spy has said the Home Office was aware that undercover police officers stole the identities of dead children to infiltrate political groups.

Peter Francis, a former undercover officer turned whistleblower, said the Home Office helped the spies by providing false passports in the names of the dead children.

His claim comes as Britain’s most senior police officer, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, is due to publish a report on Tuesday about the secret use of dead children’s identities.

It will be released on the same day that MPs on the home affairs select committee are due to question Mick Creedon, the chief constable who is leading the police investigation into the deployment of undercover officers in protest groups over a 40-year period.

Creedon has already conceded that the theft of the children’s identities was “common practice” within a covert special branch unit which operated between 1968 and 2008.

Earlier this month, Bob Lambert, one of the leading spies of the unit, claimed that the technique was “well known at the highest levels of the Home Office”.

In a practice criticised by MPs as “ghoulish” and “heartless”, undercover spies in the unit, the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS), searched through birth and death certificates to find children who had died at an early age. They then assumed the identity of the child and developed a persona based on that identity when they went undercover for five years or longer.

The spies were issued with fake documents such as passports, driving licences and national insurance numbers in the child’s name to further bolster their credibility.

Francis, who infiltrated anti-racist groups from 1993 to 1997, discussed the technique with the head of the SDS because he had reservations about stealing the identity of a four-year-old boy who had died. He did not disclose the name of the SDS head.

“We bounced it around – what were his thoughts, what were my thoughts. It was evident that it was standard practice,” Francis said.

The head of the SDS told him the Home Office knew the undercover spies “were using the children”, he said, as it gave fake passports to the spies knowing that they were in the names of the dead children.

The SDS was directly funded by the government, which received an annual report on its work for much of its existence.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “We expect the highest standards of professionalism in all aspects of policing. That is why Chief Constable Mick Creedon is leading an IPCC-supervised investigation which will ensure any criminality or misconduct is properly dealt with.”

Francis was an important source for the Guardian when the newspaper detailed the technique, dubbed the “jackal run” after Frederick Forsyth’s novel The Day of the Jackal, in February.

Speaking then as Pete Black, one of his undercover identities, Francis said he felt he was “stomping on the grave” of the boy whose identity he stole. “A part of me was thinking about how I would feel if someone was taking the names and details of my dead son for something like this,” he said at the time.

Last month, he said his superiors had asked him to find “dirt” that could be used to smear the family of Stephen Lawrence, the black teenager who was stabbed to death in a racist attack in 1993.

Lambert went undercover for four years in the 1980s to infiltrate environmental and animal rights groups. He adopted the persona of Bob Robinson, a seven-year-old boy who had died of a congenital heart defect.

Interviewed by Channel Four News this month, Lambert said that at the time he did not “really give pause for thought on the ethical considerations. It was, that’s what was done. Let’s be under no illusions about the extent to which that was an accepted practice that was well known at the highest levels of the Home Office.” Lambert fathered a child with a campaigner while he was undercover.

On Tuesday, Creedon is expected to be questioned by the select committee about whether the police will apologise to the parents whose children’s identities were taken. Creedon has said he has taken legal advice on whether the spies who stole the children’s identities could be put on trial.

Rob Evans
The Guardian, Monday 15 July 2013 18.35 BST

Find this story at 15 July 2013

© 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.

Operation Herne Report 1 Use of covert identities

Executive Summary

History
The Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) was an undercover unit formed by the
Metropolitan Police’s Special Branch. It operated between 1968 and 2008, during
which time it infiltrated and reported on groups concerned in violent protest.

Operation Herne
Operation Herne (formerly Soisson) was formed in October 2011 in response to
allegations made by the Guardian newspaper about alleged misconduct and criminality
engaged in by members of the SDS. Similar matters had been previously aired as early
as 2002 in a BBC documentary.

Operation Riverwood
On 4th February 2013 the Metropolitan Police received a public complaint from the
family of Rod Richardson, a young boy who had died in the 1970s. It is alleged that an
undercover officer working for the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU) had
used this child’s details as his covert identity. This matter was referred to the IPCC. The
matter was returned to the force and is currently subject of a ‘local investigation’.

National Public Order Intelligence Unit
The NPOIU was formed within the MPS in 1999 to gather and coordinate intelligence.
In 2006 the governance responsibility for NPOIU was moved to the Association of
Chief Police Officers, after a decision was taken that the forces where the majority of
activity was taking place should be responsible for authorising future deployments. In
January 2011 the NPOIU was subsumed within other units under the National Domestic
Extremism Units within the MPS.
In January 1995 large numbers of police from London, Kent and Hampshire were
drafted to the West Sussex harbour of Shoreham in response to protests surrounding
the export of live animals to Europe. The Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and another
animal extremist group named ‘Justice Department’ had a strong base in the
community there. This led to a number of protests and in October 1995 there was a
further demonstration in Brightlingsea, Essex. This resulted in a record number of police
being deployed to prevent widespread public disorder. Ad-hoc protest groups emerged
and the need for first hand high quality intelligence was evident. This led to undercover
operatives being required to infiltrate these animal extremist organisations.

The purpose of the NPOIU was:
1 To provide the police service with the ability to develop a national threat assessment
and profile for domestic extremism.
2 Support the police service to reduce crime and disorder from domestic extremism.
3 Support a proportionate police response to protest activity.
4 Help the police service manage concerns of communities and businesses to
minimise conflict and disorder.

Control of the NPOIU moved to ACPO in 2006 under the direction of the ACPO National
Co-ordinator for Domestic Extremism, Assistant Chief Constable Anton Setchell. He
was replaced by Detective Chief Superintendent Adrian Tudway in 2010. The NPOIU
worked with the National Extremism Tactical Co-ordination Unit (NETCU) and the
National Domestic Extremism Team (NDET).
The NPOIU now exists as part of the National Domestic Extremism Unit (NDEU) under
the Metropolitan Police Service Specialist Operations and is run by Detective Chief
Superintendent Chris Greaney.

Deceased identities
On 5th February 2013 the Home Affairs Select Committee (HASC) questioned Deputy
Assistant Commissioner Gallan about the alleged practice that SDS officers had used
the details of dead children, as part of a cover identity for undercover police officers. At
the time DAC Gallan was based in the MPS Directorate of Professional Standards and
was in overall command of Operation Herne. Her appearance before the HASC led to
considerable media coverage and some negative commentary. As a result of the media
coverage, Operation Herne has now received enquiries from fourteen (14) families
regarding seventeen (17) children.

Operation Herne review
One hundred and forty-seven (147) named individuals are believed to have served as
police officers within the SDS at all ranks from Chief Superintendent down. This covers
the forty (40) years that the unit was in existence and not all the police officers were
deployed in undercover roles.
At this stage one hundred and six (106) covert identities have been identified as having
been used by the SDS between 1968 and 2008.
Forty-two (42) of these identities are either confirmed or highly likely to have used the
details of a deceased child.
Forty-five (45) of these identities have been established as fictitious. Work continues to
identify the provenance of the remaining identities.

Neither Confirm Nor Deny (NCND)
The policy of ‘neither confirming nor denying’ the use of or identity of an undercover
police officer is a long established one used by UK policing. It is essential so as to
provide for the necessary operational security and to ensure undercover officers are
clear that their identity will never be disclosed by the organisation that asked them to
carry out the covert activity. The duty of care owed to such officers is an absolute one
and applies during their deployments, throughout their service and continues when they
are retired.
Please note that this is an interim report specifically about the use of the identities of
deceased children and infants. It does not seek to cover either all of the activities of
the SDS nor has it been able to completely provide all the answers regarding the use
of covert identities. The report clearly explains the use of the tactic and is submitted
early given the need to deal with the public concerns and is provided in agreement with
the Home Office who sought to have this matter concluded before the parliamentary
summer recess.

Find this report at July 2013

Dead children’s IDs used by undercover police to be kept from families

The identities of 42 dead children whose names were assumed by undercover police officers will not be revealed to their relatives, according to a report.

The Metropolitan Police offered a general apology for the “shock and offence” the practice had caused.

But Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said revealing the identities used would endanger the officers concerned.

The senior officer who wrote the report on the 1980s practice told MPs it would not be used as a tactic today.

The report’s author, Derbyshire Chief Constable Mick Creedon, was asked to investigate in 2011 after the Guardian newspaper published allegations about the conduct of undercover officers.

He told the Home Affairs Select Committee ministers did not authorise the practice but refused to condemn the officers’ actions.

“It’s irrelevant what I think,” he said. “It is not a tactic we would use these days.

“It would feel very strange for me to criticise the actions of people 20, 30, 40-years-ago without knowing what they faced at the time.”

Earlier this year, the Guardian reported that officers had stolen the identities of about 80 children who died at an early age.
Anonymity ‘vital’

Mr Creedon’s report concluded that at least 42 children’s identities had, either definitely or very probably, been used by the Metropolitan Police’s Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) and its National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU).

The earliest known use of the tactic occurred between 1976 and 1981 and it was phased out from 1994 in the SDS, the report added.

But it also found that the practice might have been used by the NPOIU as recently as 2003, and that it was “highly possible” that its use was more widespread than currently understood.

The report said: “A range of officers at different ranks and roles have been interviewed by the investigation team. The information provided corroborates totally the belief that, for the majority of the existence of the SDS, the use of deceased children’s identities was accepted as standard practice.”

Sir Bernard said 14 families had contacted the Met to ask whether the identities of their relatives had been used by undercover officers.

The Met had apologised to them, and to another family that had heard separately that it might be affected by the revelations, he said.

“Undercover officers are brave men and women” and maintaining their anonymity is “vital”, Sir Bernard said.

He explained: “There are criminals behind bars and at large today who would have no qualms in doing serious harm if they discovered a former close confidant had been working for the police.

“That’s why undercover officers spent so much time building up their ‘legend’ or false identity, and why that identity must be protected forever.”
‘Rot’

Sir Bernard added: “I believe the public do understand the necessity for police and others to do things like this to protect against a much greater harm. It was never intended or foreseen that any of the identities used would become public, or that any family would suffer hurt as a result.

“At the time this method of creating identities was in use, officers felt this was the safest option.”

But Jules Carey, a solicitor acting for Barbara Shaw, who is concerned that her son Rod Richardson’s identity was used, said: “What we heard this morning was not an apology but a PR exercise.

“The families of the dead children whose identities have been stolen by the undercover officers deserve better than this.

“They deserve an explanation, a personal apology and, if appropriate, a warning of the potential risk they face, in the exceptional circumstances, that their dead child’s identity was used to infiltrate serious criminal organisations.

“The harvesting of dead children’s identities was only one manifestation of the rot at the heart of these undercover units which had officers lie on oath, conduct smear campaigns and use sexual relationships as an evidence-gathering tool.”

He added: “Ms Shaw has told me that she feels her complaint has been ‘swept under the carpet” and she has instructed me to appeal this outcome.”

UK
16 July 2013 Last updated at 16:29 GMT

Find this story at 16 July 2013

BBC © 2013 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

Met chief sorry for police spies using dead children’s identities

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe releases report on surveillance used since 1970s but refuses to inform any affected families

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said families of dead children whose identities were used would not be approached, as that could put undercover officers in danger. Photograph: John Stillwell/PA

Britain’s most senior police officer has offered a general apology for the “morally repugnant” theft of dead children’s identities by undercover spies who infiltrated political groups.

But Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Metropolitan police commissioner, has refused to tell any families if the identities of their children were stolen by the undercover officers. He said he wanted to protect the spies from being exposed.

In a report published on Tuesday, he admitted that at least 42 police spies stole the identity of children who had died before they were 14 years old.

But the total number of such spies could be far higher as he conceded that the technique could have been more widespread than initially believed.

Hogan-Howe said he “should apologise for the shock and offence the use of this tactic has caused” among the public, after the Guardian revealed details of the policing method in February.

The commissioner argued that the families could not be informed as it could lead to the exposure of the undercover officers sent to infiltrate the political groups.

“It was never intended or foreseen that any of the identities used would become public, or that any family would suffer hurt as a result. At the time this method of creating identities was in use, officers felt this was the safest option” he added.

His decision drew immediate criticism. Jenny Jones, a Green party member of the London Assembly, said: “This falls short of coming clean to all the families whose children’s identities were harvested. In giving a blanket apology they have avoided the difficult task of apologising to real people.”

The Met has sent letters of apology to 15 families whose children died young, but has neither confirmed nor denied whether identities were stolen.

One case concerned a suspected spy, deployed between 1999 and 2003, who allegedly stole the identity of Rod Richardson, who died two days after being born in 1973.

The family’s lawyer, Jules Carey, said that Barbara Shaw, the mother of the dead boy, was taking legal action as she felt her complaint had been “swept under the carpet”.

Carey said Hogan-Howe’s apology was a PR exercise. He added: “The families of the dead children whose identities have been stolen by the undercover officers deserve better than this. They deserve an explanation, a personal apology. The harvesting of dead children’s identities was only one manifestation of the rot at the heart of these undercover units.”

Peter Francis, one of the spies who originally blew the whistle on the tactic, said the police should offer a personal apology to the families in the cases of spies whose identity had already been exposed. He agreed that the spies whose work remained secret should be protected.

The report, on Tuesday, was produced by Mick Creedon, the Derbyshire chief constable who is conducting an investigation into the activities of the undercover spies over 40 years.

Creedon revealed that the technique was used extensively as far back as 1976 and was authorised by senior police. He reported that the tactic became “an established practice that new officers were taught” within a covert special branch unit known as the special demonstration squad (SDS), which spied on political groups.

“This was not done by the officers in any underhand or salacious manner – it was what they were told to do,” Creedon added.

One senior spy is quoted as saying the undercover officers “spent hours and hours … leafing through death registers in search of a name [they] could call his own”.

“The genuine identities of the deceased children were blended with the officer’s own biographical details,” Creedon said.

The spies were issued with fake documents, such as passports and driving licences, to make their alter egos appear genuine in case suspicious activists started to investigate them.

The last time the tactic was used, according to Creedon, was 2003, by a spy working for a second covert unit – the national public order intelligence unit (NPOIU) – which infiltrated political campaigns.

Creedon said it was highly possible that the tactic was used by undercover officers in other units which infiltrated serious criminal gangs. “It would be a mistake to assume that the use of identities of dead children was solely within the SDS and the NPOIU.”

He said that the use of the technique “however morally repugnant, should not detract from the [spies’] bravery”.

Rob Evans and Paul Lewis
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 16 July 2013 12.22 BST

Find this story at 16 July 2013

© 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.

Home Office ‘knew police stole children’s identities’

Bob Lambert admits to adopting the identity of a seven-year-old boy and has conceded to having four affairs while undercover

Bob Lambert was deployed as an animal rights activist named Bob Robinson in the 1980s.

A former police spymaster has claimed the practice of resurrecting the identities of dead children so they could be used by undercover officers was “well known at the highest levels of the Home Office”.

Bob Lambert, who is facing a potential criminal investigation over his work for a secret unit of undercover officers, admitted that when he was deployed as a spy himself, he adopted the identity of a seven-year-old boy who died of a congenital heart defect.

He also admitted to using his false identity in court and co-writing the “McLibel” leaflet that defamed the burger chain McDonald’s, resulting in the longest civil trial in English legal history.

Conceding publicly for the first time that he had four relationships with women while undercover, one of which resulted in him secretly fathering a child, he said: “With hindsight I can only say that I genuinely regret my actions, and I apologise to the women affected in my case.”

Lambert was deployed as an animal rights activist named “Bob Robinson” in the 1980s for a covert Metropolitan Police unit called the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) which deployed undercover officers in political campaign groups. In the 1990s, he was promoted to manage other undercover operatives.

Over the last two years the Guardian has detailed the covert work of Lambert, one of the most controversial spies to have worked for the SDS and its sister squad, the National Public Order Intelligence Unit.

Until now, Lambert has either declined to comment in detail or said the Guardian’s reports amounted to “a misleading combination of truth, distortions, exaggerations and outright lies”.

However, in a Channel 4 News interview broadcast on Friday, Lambert admitted that many of the allegations made against him were true. “My reputation is never going to be redeemed for many people, and I don’t think it should be,” he told the programme. “I think I made serious mistakes that I should regret, and I always will do.”

Lambert said he was arrested “four or five” times while undercover and in 1986 he appeared in a magistrates court charged with a “minor public order offence”. He said he had to appear in court using his alter ego – rather than his real name – in order to “maintain cover”.

He also admitted to co-writing the McLibel leaflet. “I was certainly a contributing author to the McLibel leaflet,” he told the programme. “Well, I think, the one that I remember, the one that I remember making a contribution to, was called What’s Wrong With McDonald’s?”

Asked if that was ever disclosed to the court during the long-running civil trial, he replied: “I don’t know the answer to that question.”

Although he admitted having relationships with women, Lambert denied it was a deliberate tactic in the SDS to use relationships to gain access, saying “probably I became too immersed” in his alter ego. “I’d always been a faithful husband,” he said. “I only ever became an unfaithful husband when I became an undercover police officer.”

Harriet Wistrich, a lawyer representing eight women involved in relationships with Lambert and other undercover police said that there was a systematic pattern in which operatives repeatedly used long-term relationships to build their cover.

Almost all of the undercover officers identified so far – including those known to have worked under Lambert – had sexual relationships while operating covertly.

An SDS spy who has become a whistleblower, Peter Francis, has said that when he was deployed as an anti-racist campaigner, his superiors asked him to find “dirt” that could be used to smear the family of Stephen Lawrence, the black teenager who was stabbed to death in a racist attack in 1993.

His revelation has since triggered further investigations into alleged covert tactics used against the Lawrence family, their supporters and Duwayne Brooks, a friend of Stephen and the main witness to the murder.

On Friday, police chiefs admitted bugging a meeting with Brooks and his lawyer, Jane Deighton. Deighton said that Brooks, who is now a Lib Dem councillor, conveyed his concern in a meeting with the deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg.

In a previous Channel 4 News broadcast, Lambert denied the unit was involved in seeking to smear the Lawrence family during his tenure as deputy head of the unit.

He had a supervisory role when other spies, such as Jim Boyling and Mark Jenner, formed long-term relationships with people they were spying on. All are now under investigation.

The deployments of Francis, Lambert, Boyling and Jenner are detailed in a new book: Undercover: The True Story of Britain’s Secret Police.

Lambert has also been accused in parliament of igniting an incendiary device in a branch of Debenhams as part of a fire-bombing campaign by the Animal Liberation Front. Repeating earlier denials, he told Channel 4 News that the claim was “false”.

The home secretary, Theresa May, is coming under mounting pressure to announce an independent public inquiry into the affair. So far she has indicated that two pre-existing inquiries – one run by a barrister, the other an internal Met police review – are capable of investigating the allegations surrounding the Lawrences and Brooks.

Paul Lewis and Rob Evans
The Guardian, Saturday 6 July 2013

Find this story 6 July 2013

© 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.

Undercover policeman who impregnated one of his targets and impersonated a dead child apologises for ‘serious mistakes’

Bob Lambert had a five-year covert career using the alias Bob Robinson
The married office slept with four women and fathered a child with one
Lambert claims that being undercover led to his bad behaviour

Back in the day: During a covert career in which he infiltrated various groups, Bob Lambert has spoke of his disgust at some of his actions

A former Scotland Yard police officer who fathered a child with one of several targets he had relationships with while working undercover has apologised to the women.

Bob Lambert said he would always regret the ‘serious mistakes’ he made during a covert career which saw him use the identities of dead children, give evidence in court under his false name and co-author a libellous leaflet.

Mr Lambert used the alias Bob Robinson during his five years infiltrating environmentalist groups, when he was with the special demonstration squad (SDS), the Metropolitan Police unit that targeted political activists.

The revelation that the married officer slept with four women – fathering a child with one – sparked outrage.

In an interview with Channel 4 News, he said he accepts his behaviour was morally reprehensible and a gross invasion of privacy.

‘With hindsight, I can only say that I genuinely regret my actions, and I apologise to the women affected,’ he said.

‘I’d always been a faithful husband. I only ever became an unfaithful husband when I became an undercover police officer.’

The ex-officer declined to reveal whether his superiors were aware of the child – insisting he would only discuss that with an investigation into the activities of undercover police activities being led by the chief constable of Derbyshire.

Mr Lambert said he ‘didn’t really give pause for thought on the ethical considerations’ of adopting the identity of a dead child in 1984 as it was standard practice at the time.

‘That’s what was done. Let’s be under no illusions about the extent to which that was an accepted practice that was well known at the highest levels of the Home Office,’ he told the programme.

More…
Baby snatched from its pram and thrown to the floor outside a hospital by teenager who was on a legal high called Salvia

He confirmed that he had appeared in court as Bob Robinson but could not say whether the judiciary was made aware by the police that he was doing so.

‘On occasions I was arrested as Bob Robinson and to maintain cover I went through the process of arrest, detention, and on occasions, appearing in court,’ he said.
Lambert insists he was unaware of any campaign to smear family and friends of Stephen Lawrence

He denied it amounted to perjury as ‘the position was that I was maintaining cover as Bob Robinson’.
But asked if the court was ‘made aware’, he added: ‘Well, that’s what needs to be established.’

Mr Lambert also confirmed that he helped write a libellous leaflet that attacked fast food giant McDonald’s and triggered the longest civil trial in English history.

McDonald’s famously sued two green campaigners over the leaflet in a landmark three-year high court case.

It was not disclosed during the costly civil legal proceedings brought by McDonalds in the 1990s that an undercover police officer helped write the leaflet.

‘I was certainly a contributing author to the McLibel leaflet. Well, I think, the one that I remember, the one that I remember making a contribution to, was called What’s Wrong With McDonalds?’, he told Channel 4.

Over the line: Bob Lambert in a more recent picture, fathered a child with one of his targets

Asked if that fact was disclosed during the proceedings, he said: ‘I don’t know.’

He repeated his rejection though of claims that he planted an incendiary device in a Debenhams store in Harrow in 1987, calling that a ‘false allegation’.

Mr Lambert, who was an SDS manager for five years, earlier this week insisted he had not been aware of any campaign against the family of murdered black teenager Stephen Lawrence.

Those claims were made by another veteran of the unit, Peter Francis, who alleges he was told to find information to use to smear the Lawrence family – who are calling for a public inquiry to examine the issue.

Home Secretary Theresa May has said they would be looked at by the Derbyshire probe and a separate inquiry led by barrister Mark Ellison QC into alleged corruption in the original Lawrence murder investigation, but has left open the possibility of other action.

‘My reputation is never going to be redeemed for many people, and I don’t think it should be,’ Mr Lambert said.

‘I think I made serious mistakes that I should regret, and I always will do. I think the only real comfort I can take from my police career is that the Muslim Contact Unit was about learning from mistakes.’

Belinda Harvey, one of eight women who are suing the Metropolitan Police over relationships with men who turned out to be undercover officers, rejected his apology.

‘Almost everything he said to me was a lie; why would I possibly believe what he says to me know.’ she told Channel 4.

‘If it hadn’t been for the case we’re bringing against the police, he would never have apologised and I would have lived the rest of my days not finding out the truth.’

Former director of public prosecutions Lord Macdonald of River Glaven said the latest evidence strengthened the case for a judge-led public inquiry.

‘It is as bad as I think we thought it was,’ he said.

‘He seems to have admitted a great deal of the conduct that people feared had been taking place.

‘It now sounds as though not only senior police officers but senior civil servants may have known what was going on.

‘It’s no good having this multitude of inquiries that are going on at the moment, one of them conducted by the police themselves which is pretty hopeless in my view.

‘We need a single public inquiry under a senior judicial figure to examine what happened, what went wrong, who authorised it and most of all to reassure us that its not going on still.’

By Daily Mail Reporter

PUBLISHED: 00:37 GMT, 6 July 2013 | UPDATED: 01:06 GMT, 6 July 2013

Find this story at 6 July 2013

© Associated Newspapers Ltd

Police to apologise for using dead children’s identities

Investigation into covert policing has found widespread use of the practice.

Senior police leaders are set to make an unprecedented national apology after hundreds of names of dead children were used to create false identities for undercover officers.

An investigation into covert policing has found widespread use of the practice.

Undercover officers told The Times that they were trained to use names of the dead and it had become “standard practice”.

Special branch units used the names while infiltrating criminal gangs, animal rights activists and football hooligan firms, it is claimed.

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, will be questioned about the method after it was revealed that officers were told to gather “dirt” on the family of Stephen Lawrence.

Sources say that the practice may have been used in MI5 and MI6 and that several thousand identities of dead infants, children and teenagers may have been assumed by undercover officers.

An apology will be made senior police in the coming days.

Tom Foot
Friday, 5 July 2013

Find this story at 5 July 2013

© independent.co.uk

Scotland Yard to apologise for stealing dead children’s identities and giving them to undercover officers

Police chiefs are expected to formally apologise for using the names of dead children to create fake identities for undercover officers.

It had been thought that only officers in secret police units such as the Met Police’s Special Demonstration Squad, which was closed in 2008, had adopted dead children’s names as a new identity.

But Operation Herne, an ongoing investigation into the conduct of undercover police, has revealed that the practice was more widespread than originally thought and used by forces across the country.

Standard practice: It had been thought that the practice of using dead children’s names as identities for undercover officers was restricted to Scotland Yard’s Special Demonstrations Squad, but the practice is now said to have been more widespread

According to sources, undercover police officers infiltrating criminal networks and violent gangs were given dead people’s identities as ‘standard practice’, reported The Times.

The technique, which was regularly used in the 1960s and 1990s, is thought to have been last used in 2002.

More…
Why SHOULD we help find Maddie, ask Portugal’s police chiefs, as they ridicule Scotland Yard claims of new leads on missing girl
Revealed: BBC boss who landed £866k payoff and walked straight into another public-sector job

But it is thought that the technique was not restricted to police forces with other agencies such as HM Revenue & Customs said to have adopted the practice.

The apology could come as early as this month but police are not expected to contact families of the dead people whose names were used through fear that it could put officers who have taken part in undercover operations in the past in danger.

A way in: Dead children’s identities were used by undercover offices to infiltrate violent gangs and demonstration groups

A source told The Times: ‘This wasn’t an anomaly, it wasn’t something that was used in isolation by just one unit.

‘If you are infiltrating a sophisticated crime group they are going to check who you are, so you need a backstop, a cover story that has real depth and won’t fall over at the first hurdle.

Disapproving: Policing minister Damien Green has expressed his disappointment at the use of dead children’s names by police units

‘The way to do that was to build an identity that was based on a real person.’

It was reported earlier this year that around 80 names were used by officers over a 30 year period.

Set up in 2011, Operation Herne, which is expected to cost around £1.66million a year, will examine the conduct of all ranks of officers and even look at the actions of former Home Secretaries.

Both The Home Affairs Committee and Police minister Damian Green have spoken of their ‘disappointment’ that dead children’s names were used in investigations.

Back in may, Derbyshire Chief Constable Mick Creedon admitted that the practice had been widespread

A raft of allegations have been made since former PC Mark Kennedy was unmasked in 2011 as an undercover officer who spied on environmental protesters as Mark ‘Flash’ Stone – and had at least one sexual relationship with a female activist.

The revelation comes before Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan Howe appears before MPs to answer questions over a number of controversies including claims last month that the family of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence were targeted by undercover officers who were assigned to ‘get dirt’ on them.

Quiz: Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe will face questions from MPs over a number of controversies

It also emerged that police admitted bugging meetings involving Duwayne Brooks, the friend who was with Stephen the night he was attacked.

The claims affecting Mr Brooks came after former undercover officer Peter Francis alleged that he had been told to find information to use to smear the Lawrence family.

Mr Francis, who worked with Scotland Yard’s former Special Demonstration Squad, spoke out about tactics that he said were used by the secretive unit in the 1980s and 1990s.

Investigation: A raft of allegations have been made since former PC Mark Kennedy was unmasked in 2011 as an undercover officer who spied on environmental protesters as Mark ¿Flash¿ Stone ¿ and had at least one sexual relationship with a female activist

By Steve Nolan

PUBLISHED: 11:07 GMT, 6 July 2013 | UPDATED: 11:13 GMT, 6 July 2013

Find this story at 6 July 2013

© Associated Newspapers Ltd

New Twist in British Spy’s Case Unravels in U.S.

Mark Kennedy, a British police officer who spent seven years infiltrating environmental and activist groups while working undercover for the Metropolitan Police force in London, may have monitored an American computer scientist and spied on others while in the United States.

The computer scientist, Harry Halpin, said that he was at a gathering of activists and academics in Manhattan in January 2008 that Mr. Kennedy — then using the pseudonym Mark Stone — also attended. He said Mr. Kennedy collected information about him and about a man and a woman who were accused later that year of associating with “a terrorist enterprise” and sabotaging high-speed train lines in France.

In addition to Mr. Halpin’s assertions, documents connected to the case indicate that prosecutors in Paris looked to American officials to provide evidence about a handful of people in the United States and events that took place in New York in 2008.

“Mark Kennedy spied upon myself on United States soil, as well as Julien Coupat and Yildune Levy,” Mr. Halpin wrote in an e-mail, naming two defendants in the group known in France as the Tarnac 10, after the small mountain village where several of them had lived in a commune.

Mr. Halpin added that Mr. Coupat introduced him to Mr. Kennedy in the fall of 2007. “It appears that Mark Kennedy also passed information to the F.B.I. that I knew Julian Coupat,” he added.

Reached via e-mail on Thursday, Mr. Kennedy, who now works with The Densus Group, a security consulting firm based in the United States, declined to comment on Mr. Halpin’s statements.

In 2010, Mr. Halpin said that F.B.I. agents detained him for five hours after he arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport from Europe, seizing his computer and threatening put him in jail if he did not agree to provide information about Mr. Coupat. Mr. Halpin said that he refused but the agents let him go when they were asked to explain the charges against him.

A spokesman for the F.B.I. in New York, James Margolin, declined to comment on the encounter described by Mr. Halpin.

The accounts of events in New York provided by Mr. Halpin and others added a new twist to two dramas that have received widespread attention in Europe, where they have slowly unraveled over the past few years.

Mr. Kennedy’s actions while spying on political activists in Britain have brought embarrassment to Scotland Yard, as officials there have been forced to confront allegations of inappropriate behavior by some undercover operatives.

As reported in The Guardian newspaper, Mr. Kennedy was said to have had sexual relationships with a number of women connected to groups he had infiltrated.

In 2011, the trial of six people accused of planning to take over a coal-fired power plant collapsed amid claims, denied by Mr. Kennedy, that he had acted as an agent provocateur. Mr. Kennedy was also shown to have worked undercover in more than 20 other countries, including Iceland, Spain and Germany, where members of parliament have raised questions about his role.

Eventually, 10 women, including three who said they had intimate relationships with Mr. Kennedy, sued the police in London saying that they had formed strong personal ties with undercover officers. Later, it was reported in British papers that Mr. Kennedy sued the police, saying that his superiors had failed to prevent him from sleeping with an activist and falling in love.

In France, l’affaire de Tarnac, as it is known, has become a cause célèbre among civil libertarians who have criticized the use of terrorism statutes against people suspected of sabotage but not accused of harming anyone. The defendants have denied wrongdoing, but the authorities have portrayed them as dangerous subversives who plotted attacks against the state then “refused to answer questions, or gave whimsical answers” about their activities.

An unusual element of the case involves a book called “The Coming Insurrection” by an anonymous group of authors called the Invisible Committee. The book advocates rebellion against capitalist culture, encourages readers to form self-sufficient communes and calls for “a diffuse, efficient guerrilla war to give us back our ungovernableness.” Prosecutors have said that Mr. Coupat and his comrades wrote the volume. The suspects denied authorship but Mr. Coupat told journalists in France that the book had merit.

While the Tarnac case has moved slowly through the French legal system, documents have emerged showing that F.B.I. agents were posted outside the Manhattan building where the activists gathered in 2008, videotaping the arrival and departure of Mr. Halpin, Mr. Coupat and Ms. Levy, among others. Those tapes were later given to French prosecutors along with a detailed log compiled by the F.B.I. agents.

As the French investigation continued, documents show that prosecutors in Paris asked officials in the United States about a “meeting of anarchists” in New York and about several people who could be connected to Mr. Coupat. They also asked for information about a low-grade explosive attack in March 2008 that damaged an armed forces recruitment center in Times Square.

In 2012, letters show that Justice Department officials said they had not identified any connection between the people at the Manhattan gathering and the attack on the recruitment center. The officials also gave French prosecutors background information on some American citizens who appeared to have visited the commune in Tarnac and records of an interview that F.B.I. agents had conducted with an assistant professor and French philosophist at New York University who had translated “The Coming Insurrection.”

The professor, Alexander Galloway, told the agents that he had taught the books in a class on political theory and French philosophy, but had never met Mr. Coupat.

Official documents do not mention Mr. Kennedy but several people from New York said that he spent about a week there in early 2008 on his way to visit a brother in Cleveland. During that period, witnesses said Mr. Kennedy attended several informal gatherings, sometimes with Mr. Coupat and Ms. Levy.

March 15, 2013, 3:06 pm
By COLIN MOYNIHAN

Find this story at 15 March 2013

Copyright 2013 The New York Times Company

Police spies: in bed with a fictional character

Mark Jenner lived with a woman under a fake name. Now she has testified to MPs about the ‘betrayal and humiliation’ she felt

Mark Jenner, the undercover officer in the Metropolitan police’s special demonstration squad, who went by the name of Mark Cassidy for six years – then disappeared.

He was a burly, funny scouser called Mark Cassidy. His girlfriend – a secondary school teacher he shared a flat with for four years – believed they were almost “man and wife”. Then, in 2000, as the couple were discussing plans for the future, Cassidy suddenly vanished, never to be seen again.

An investigation by the Guardian has established that his real name is Mark Jenner. He was an undercover police officer in the Metropolitan police’s special demonstration squad (SDS), one of two units that specialised in infiltrating protest groups.

His girlfriend, whose story can be told for the first time as her evidence to a parliamentary inquiry is made public, said living with a police spy has had an “enormous impact” on her life.

“It has impacted seriously on my ability to trust, and that has impacted on my current relationship and other subsequent relationships,” she said, adopting the pseudonym Alison. “It has also distorted my perceptions of love and my perceptions of sex.”

Alison is one of four women to testify to the House of Commons home affairs select committee last month.

Another woman said she had been psychologically traumatised after discovering that the father of her child, who she thought had disappeared, was Bob Lambert, a police spy who vanished from her life in the late 1980s.

A third woman, speaking publicly for the first time about her six-year relationship with Mark Kennedy, a police officer who infiltrated environmental protest groups, said: “You could … imagine that your phone might be tapped or that somebody might look at your emails, but to know that there was somebody in your bed for six years, that somebody was involved in your family life to such a degree, that was an absolute shock.”

Their moving testimony led the committee to declare that undercover operations have had a “terrible impact” on the lives of innocent women.

The MPs are so troubled about the treatment of the women – as well as the “ghoulish” practice in which undercover police adopted the identities of dead children – that they have called for an urgent clean-up of the laws governing covert surveillance operations.

Jenner infiltrated leftwing political groups from 1994 to 2000, pretending to be a joiner interested in radical politics. For much of his deployment, he was under the command of Lambert, who was by then promoted to head of operations of the SDS.

While posing as Cassidy, he could be coarse but also irreverent and funny. The undercover officer saw himself as something of a poet. A touch over 6ft, he had a broad neck, large shoulders and exuded a tough, working-class quality.

By the spring of 1995, Jenner began a relationship with Alison and soon moved into her flat. “We lived together as what I would describe as man and wife,” she said. “He was completely integrated into my life for five years.”

Jenner met her relatives, who trusted him as her long-term partner. He accompanied Alison to her mother’s second wedding. “He is in my mother’s wedding photograph,” she said. Family videos of her nephew’s and niece’s birthdays show Jenner teasing his girlfriend fondly. Others record him telling her late grandmother about his fictionalised family background.

Alison, a peaceful campaigner involved in leftwing political causes, believes she inadvertently provided the man she knew as Mark Cassidy with “an excellent cover story”, helping persuade other activists he was a genuine person.

“People trusted me, people knew that I was who I said I was, and people believed, therefore, that he must be who he said he was because he was welcomed into my family,” she said.

It was not unusual for undercover operatives working for the SDS or its sister squad, the national public order unit, to have sexual relationships with women they were spying on. Of the 11 undercover police officers publicly identified, nine had intimate sexual relations with activists. Most were long-term, meaningful relationships with women who believed they were in a loving partnership.

Usually these spies were told to spend at least one or two days a week off-duty, when they would change clothes and return to their real lives. However, Jenner, who had a wife, appears to have lived more or less permanently with Alison, rarely leaving their shared flat in London.

It was an arrangement that caused personal problems for the Jenners. At one stage, he is known to have attended counselling to repair his relationship with his wife. Bizarrely, at about the same time, he was also consulting a second relationship counsellor with Alison.

“I met him when I was 29,” she said. “It was the time when I wanted to have children, and for the last 18 months of our relationship he went to relationship counselling with me about the fact that I wanted children and he did not.”

Jenner disentangled himself from the deployment in 2000, disappearing suddenly from Alison’s flat after months pretending to suffer from depression.

The police spy left her a note which read: “We want different things. I can’t cope … When I said I loved you, I meant it, but I can’t do it.” He claimed he was going to Germany to look for work.

It was all standard procedure for the SDS. Some operatives ended their deployments by pretending to have a breakdown and vanishing, supposedly to go abroad, sending a few letters to their girlfriends with foreign postmarks.

Alison was left heartbroken and paranoid, feeling that she was losing her mind. She spent more than a decade investigating Jenner’s background, hiring a private detective to try to track him down. She had no idea he was actually working a few miles away at Scotland Yard, where he is understood to still work as a police officer today.

The strongest clue to Jenner’s real identity came from an incident she recalled from years earlier when he was still living with her. “I discovered he made an error with a credit card about a year and a half into our relationship,” she said. “It was in the name Jenner and I asked him what it was and he told me he bought it off a man in a pub and he had never used it. He asked me to promise to never tell anyone.”

The Metropolitan police refused to comment on whether Jenner was a police spy. “We are not prepared to confirm or deny the deployment of individuals on specific operations,” it said.

Alison told MPs that the “betrayal and humiliation” she suffered was beyond normal. “This is not about just a lying boyfriend or a boyfriend who has cheated on you,” she said. “It is about a fictional character who was created by the state and funded by taxpayers’ money. The experience has left me with many, many unanswered questions, and one of those that comes back is: how much of the relationship was real?”

Paul Lewis and Rob Evans
The Guardian, Friday 1 March 2013

Find this story at 1 March 2013

© 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.

Police spy Mark Kennedy may have misled parliament over relationships

Inquiry hears claims of 10 or more women having sexual relations with undercover officer who infiltrated eco-activists

Mark Kennedy’s evidence saying he had sexual relationships with two people is disputed by women taking legal action against the police. Photograph: Philipp Ebeling

Mark Kennedy, the police spy who infiltrated the environmental movement, appears to have misled parliament over the number of sexual relationships he had with women while he was working undercover.

Kennedy told a parliamentary inquiry that he had only two relationships during the seven years he spied on environmental groups.

However, at least four women had come forward to say that he slept with them when he was a police spy.

Friends who knew Kennedy when he was living as an eco-activist in Nottingham have identified more than 10 women with whom he slept.

Kennedy was the only undercover police officer to give evidence to the inquiry conducted by the home affairs select committee.

He testified in private, but transcripts of his evidence released on Thursday reveal that he claimed he had sexual relationships with “two individuals”.

But three women who say they are Kennedy’s former lovers are part of an 11-strong group taking legal action against police chiefs for damages.

A fourth, named Anna, previously told the Guardian she felt “violated” by her sexual relationship with Kennedy, which lasted several months.

Rob Evans and Paul Lewis
The Guardian, Friday 1 March 2013

Find this story at 1 March 2013

© 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.

Home Affairs Committee – Thirteenth Report Undercover Policing: Interim Report

Here you can browse the report which was ordered by the House of Commons to be printed 26 February 2013.

Find this story at 1 March 2013

Contents

Terms of Reference

Introduction

The legal framework governing undercover policing

Responsibility for undercover policing

The use of dead infants’ identities

Operation Herne

Conclusion

Conclusions and recommendations

Formal Minutes

Witnesses

List of printed written evidence

List of Reports from the Committee during the current Parliament

Oral and Written Evidence

5 February 2013 i

5 February 2013 ii

5 February 2013 iii

5 February 2013 iv

Written Evidence

Anatomy of a betrayal: the undercover officer accused of deceiving two women, fathering a child, then vanishing

The story of Bob Lambert reveals just how far police may have gone to infiltrate political groups

The grave of Mark Robinson and his parents in Branksome cemetery in Poole, Dorset. Bob Lambert adopted the boy’s identity, abbreviating his second name to Bob. Photograph: Roger Tooth for the Guardian

The words inscribed on the grave say Mark Robinson “fell asleep” on 19 October, 1959. He was a seven-year-old boy who died of a congenital heart defect, the only child to Joan and William Robinson. They died in 2009 and are buried in the same grave, listed on the headstone as “Mummy” and “Daddy”.

It is perhaps some solace that Mark’s parents never lived long enough to discover how the identity of their son may have been quietly resurrected by undercover police without their knowledge. The controversial tactic – in which covert officers spying on protesters adopted the identities of dead children – stopped less than a decade ago. More than 100 children’s identities may have been used.

Last week the home secretary, Theresa May, announced that a chief constable from Derbyshire would take over an inquiry into undercover policing of protest, after revelations by the Guardian into the use of stolen identities.

Despite an internal investigation that has cost £1.25m, senior officers seem genuinely baffled at the activities of two apparently rogue units that have been monitoring political campaigners since 1968.

The story of the officer who appears to have used the identity of Mark Robinson, adopting it as his own, reveals much of what has gone wrong with police infiltration of political groups. Bob Lambert, who posed as an animal rights campaigner in the 1980s, not only adopted the identity of a dead child. He was also accused in parliament of carrying out an arson attack on a Debenhams department store and deceiving two women into having long-term sexual relationships with him.

One of them has now revealed how Lambert fathered a child with her before vanishing from their lives when his deployment came to an end in 1989. She only discovered he was an undercover police officer eight months ago – more than 20 years after he disappeared from the lives of mother and child, claiming to be on the run.

Using the pseudonym Charlotte, she said in a statement to the home affairs select committee: “There can be no excuses for what he did: for the betrayal, the manipulation and the lies … I loved him so much, but now have to accept that he never existed.”

Gravestone

The story of how Bob Lambert became Bob Robinson begins on the outskirts of Poole, Dorset, in 1983. For almost 25 years, a sculpture of the boy stood guard above the grave in Branksome cemetery. “Safe in the arms of Jesus,” the engraving said.

Lambert would have come across the boy’s paperwork in St Catherine’s House, the national register of births, deaths and marriages. It was a rite of passage for all spies working in the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS), a unit dedicated to spying on protesters. For ease of use, SDS officers looked to adopt the identities of dead children who shared their name and approximate date of birth. They called it “the Jackal Run”, after its fictional depiction in Frederick Forsyth’s novel The Day of the Jackal.

Mark Robinson was the ideal match. He was born in Plumstead, south-east London, on 28 February, 1952 – just 16 days before Lambert’s date of birth. His second name was Robert, which the spy could abbreviate to Bob. He died of acute congestive cardiac failure after being born with a malformed heart. Other SDS officers are known to have chosen children who died of leukaemia or were killed in road accidents.

Undercover police did not merely adopt the names of dead children, but revived entire identities, researching their family backgrounds and secretly visiting the homes they were brought up in.

When the spy made his debut in London as a long-haired anti-capitalist, he introduced himself as Bob Robinson and said he was born in Plumstead. He had fake identity documents, including a driving licence in the name of Mark Robinson. Recently, he is understood to have said his full undercover alias was Mark Robert Robinson. The date of birth he gave is still in a diary entry of one close friend: it was the same date as that of the dead child.
Bob Lambert, aka Bob Robinson Photograph: guardian.co.uk

Double life

It was the start of a surreal double life. For most of the week he lived as Robinson, a gardener and active member of the environmental group London Greenpeace. For one or two days a week, he returned to the more conventional life with his wife and children in Hertfordshire. SDS insiders say Lambert was revered as one of the best operatives in the field. He helped jail two activists from the Animal Liberation Front who were convicted of planting incendiary devices in branches of Debenhams in protest at the sale of fur in July1987.

Lambert’s relationship with Charlotte, then 22, helped bolster his undercover credibility. When they met in 1984, Lambert was her first serious relationship, and 12 years her senior.

“He got involved in animal rights and made himself a useful member of the group by ferrying us around in his van,” she said. “He was always around, wherever I turned he was there trying to make himself useful, trying to get my attention. I believed at the time that he shared my beliefs and principles. In fact, he would tease me for not being committed enough.”

Around Christmas that year, Charlotte became pregnant. “Bob seemed excited by the news and he was caring and supportive throughout the pregnancy,” she said. “Bob was there by my side through the 14 hours of labour in the autumn of 1985 when our son was born. He seemed to be besotted with the baby. I didn’t realise then that he was already married with two other children.”

Two years later, Lambert’s deployment came to an end. He told friends police were on his tail and he needed to flee to Spain. “He promised he would never abandon his son and said that as soon as it was safe I could bring our baby to Spain to see him,” Charlotte said. Instead, the man she knew as Bob Robinson disappeared forever.

She was left to bring up their son as a single parent. It was an impoverished life, made worse because there was no way she could receive child maintenance payments. “At that time I blamed myself a lot for the break-up and for the fact that my son had lost his father,” she said.

When Charlotte’s son became older, the pair tried to track down Bob Robinson, who they presumed was still living in Spain. They could not have known he was working just a few miles away.

In the mid-1990s, Lambert was promoted to head of operations at the SDS, giving him overarching responsibility for a fleet of other spies. Just like their boss, they adopted the identities of dead children before going undercover to cultivate long-term and intimate relationships with women. That was the unit’s tradecraft and Lambert, with his experience in the field, was its respected spymaster. “I chatted to Bob about everything.” said Pete Black, an SDS officer who infiltrated anti-racist groups under Lambert. “You used to go in with any sort of problems, and if he could not work out how to get you out of the shit, then you were fucked.”

After his senior role in the SDS, Lambert rose through the ranks of special branch and, in the aftermath of 9/11, founded the Muslim Contact Unit, which sought to foster partnerships between police and the Islamic community.

Intimate relationships

He was awarded an MBE for services to policing and retired to start a fresh career in academia, with posts at St Andrews and Exeter universities.

‘It was my Bob’

In 2011, Lambert’s past returned to haunt him. That year Mark Kennedy, another police spy, was revealed to have spent seven years infiltrating eco activists. He had several intimate relationships with women, including one that lasted six years. Kennedy worked for the National Public Order Intelligence Unit, another squad dedicated to monitoring protesters and the second, according to the Metropolitan police, believed to have used the identities of dead children.

Amid the outcry over Kennedy’s deployment, there was a renewed push among activists to unmask police infiltrators. It was some of Lambert’s old friends in London Greenpeace who eventually made the connection, comparing YouTube videos of Lambert speeches with grainy photographs of Bob Robinson in the 1980s.

Lambert was giving a talk in a London auditorium when members of the audience – veterans from London Greenpeace – confronted him about his undercover past. He left the stage and walked out of a side door. Outside, he was stony-faced as he was chased down the street by a handful of ageing campaigners. He jumped into a taxi and melted into the afternoon traffic.

It was only the start of a cascade of claims to tarnish the senior officer’s reputation. In June last year, the Green MP Caroline Lucas used a parliamentary speech to allege that Lambert planted one of three incendiary devices in branches of Debenhams. No one was hurt in the attack on the Harrow store, in north-west London, which caused £340,000 worth of damage. Pointing to evidence that suggested Lambert planted the device, the MP asked: “Has another undercover police officer crossed the line into acting as an agent provocateur?”

Rob Evans and Paul Lewis
The Guardian, Thursday 21 February 2013 18.00 GMT

Find this story at 21 February 2013
© 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.