Scotland Yard in new undercover police row; Force accused over attempts to block claims by women allegedly deceived into sexual relationships

Scotland Yard stands accused of covering up “institutionalised sexism” within the police in trying to block civil claims launched by women allegedly deceived into sexual relationships with undercover officers.

Police lawyers are applying to strike out, on secrecy grounds, the claims of five women who say they were duped into intimate long-term relationships with four undercover police officers working within the special demonstration squad (SDS), a Metropolitan police unit set up to infiltrate protest groups.

The legal bid, funded by the taxpayer, is being fought despite widespread outrage and promises of future transparency by Scotland Yard, following official confirmation last week that an undercover officer was deployed 21 years ago to spy on the grieving family of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence.

The Observer understands that police lawyers are asking the high court to reject claims against the Metropolitan police on the grounds that the force cannot deviate from its policy of neither confirming nor denying issues regarding undercover policing.

It is understood that Scotland Yard will say in a hearing, scheduled to be held on 18 March, that it is not in a position to respond to claims and therefore cannot defend it.

Last week an independent inquiry revealed that an officer identified only as N81 was deployed in a group “positioned close to the Lawrence family campaign”. The spy gathered “some personal details relating to” the murdered teenager’s parents. It was also disclosed that undercover officers had given false evidence in the courts and acted as if they were exempt from the normal rules of evidence disclosure.

A separate report on a police investigation into the SDS found that three former officers who had had sexual relations with women who had not known their true identities could face criminal charges.

Harriet Wistrich, a lawyer at Birnberg Peirce & Partners representing the women, said it was absurd that Scotland Yard claimed to be transparent while blocking her clients’ bid for justice in open court. On Friday the former director of prosecutions, Lord Macdonald, accused the police of engendering a “culture of conceit”.

Wistrich said: “They should just hold up their hands and say, ‘this is terrible, we recognise that and are doing everything we can do to put it right’.”

Wistrich said Scotland Yard had made no move to reverse its legal position despite calls by Theresa May, the home secretary, for transparency in the wake of what she last week described as “profoundly disturbing” findings.

“They are basically saying that we have this policy and we have to uphold the policy because we gave lifelong assurances that we would not reveal their identities. This is nonsense when some have confessed themselves to being undercover officers.

“In total, we have got five different officers between the eight claimants and our own evidence suggests there was a deliberate kind of encouragement to do this. We are not just talking about a bad apple … but a rotten-to-the-core, institutionalised sexism.”

The officers accused of forging long-term sexual relationships with women while undercover are Jim Boyling, Bob Lambert, John Dines and Mark Jenner.

Last week May announced a public inquiry into the work of undercover police officers shortly after the publication of the inquiry on allegations of spying on the Lawrence family.

There are additional calls, including by shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna, for an examination of the role of undercover officers in providing information for a blacklist operation run by major companies within the construction industry which forced more than 3,000 people out of the sector.

Brian Richardson, a barrister who has set up an umbrella group, Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance, said: “It is extremely important that the proposed inquiry considers the infiltration of the Lawrence family campaign and that of [all] the targets of police surveillance. However, we must continue to campaign to ensure that the inquiry is fully transparent and that those responsible … are held to account.”

Daniel Boffey, policy editor
The Observer, Saturday 8 March 2014 20.30 GMT

Find this story at 8 March 2014

© 2014 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.

Lawrence revelations: admit institutional racism, Met chief told

Anti-terror head moved as black police leader says force has not improved since the 1999 Macpherson inquiry

The crisis engulfing the Metropolitan police following fresh revelations about the Stephen Lawrence case intensified on Friday night as the leader of its black officers’ association called on the commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, to admit that the force was still institutionally racist.

Janet Hills, chair of the Met’s black police association, told the Guardian that the report by Mark Ellison QC into alleged police wrongdoing in the Lawrence case was the latest example of the force failing the communities it serves.

Her comments came as the repercussions from Ellison’s report, commissioned by the home secretary, led the Met to move its head of counter-terrorism, Commander Richard Walton, out of his post after he was caught up in allegations that a police “spy” was placed close to the Lawrence family.

The first public inquiry into the Lawrence case by Sir William Macpherson in 1999 resulted in the force being branded “institutionally racist” for its failings that led the teenager’s killers to escape justice.

Years later the Met said the label no longer applied because it had improved so much, but the leader of the Met’s own ethnic minority officers disagreed.

Hills said: “We believe the Met is still institutionally racist.” She said this was shown by issues such as higher rates of stop and search against black people, and “the representation of ethnic minorities within the organisation, where ethnic minorities are still stuck in the junior ranks”. She added: “For me, it lies in the fact there has been no change, no progression.”

In his first public comments, Hogan-Howe accepted that the Ellison report was “devastating” and the London mayor Boris Johnson, who has responsibility for policing in the capital, described as “sickening” Ellison’s conclusion that a detective in the Lawrence murder investigation may have been corrupt.

Hills said: “The Ellison report’s revelations came because of continuing pressure from the Lawrence family. It’s only because the Lawrence family are fighting for justice that all this is coming out, and there will be more to come.”

Hills said Hogan-Howe should publicly accept that, 15 years on from Macpherson, Britain’s biggest police force – serving a city where 40% and rising are from ethnic minorities – was still “institutionally racist”. She said: “It would be good to hear him acknowledge that … For community trust and confidence he needs to take ownership.”

Johnson defended the Met’s record on race and said confidence was rising in the force Hogan-Howe leads: “He is right to continue and accelerate the work of recruiting a police force that resembles the community it serves.

There has been good progress in recent years in recruiting from ethnic minorities, but there is still some way to go. I know Sir Bernard is determined to get there, and I am sure that we can.”

Ellison’s revelations that the Met had a “spy in the Lawrence camp” during the Macpherson inquiry led the force to announce it would “temporarily” move Walton from his post as head of counter-terrorism, one of the most sensitive jobs in British policing. He has also been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

In August 1998, Walton, then an acting detective inspector, was helping to prepare the Met’s submission to the Macpherson inquiry. He secretly met an undercover officer – described by Ellison as being “positioned close to the Lawrence family campaign” to exchange “fascinating and valuable” information about the grieving family. Some of that information passed from the undercover officer included details on Doreen and Neville Lawrence’s marriage.

Neville Lawrence last night called the revelations “disgusting”, telling the Daily Mail: “It’s unbelievable. They have mocked everything we have done, telling us to our faces that they are listening and things will change, and all the time laughing behind our backs.

“I think they are actually worse than criminals because these officers get paid with taxpayers’ money for what they do.”

Ellison found Walton’s conflicting accounts of the meeting “unconvincing, and somewhat troubling”.

He offered a different version of the purpose of this meeting last month after Ellison told him that he was facing criticism in the report.

Walton was moved to a non-operational role. It comes as the Met faces withering criticism from the home secretary down over the new revelations about its behaviour during the Lawrence case.

Hogan-Howe said the publication of the Ellison report marked one of the worst days of his police career.

He vowed to reform the force, and told London’s Evening Standard: “I cannot rewrite history and the events of the past but I do have a responsibility to ensure the trust and the confidence of the people of London in the Met now and in the future.”

Theresa May branded the Lawrence revelations, some 21 years after the murder, as “profoundly shocking and disturbing”, adding that “policing stands damaged today”. She said the full truth had yet to emerge.

Lord Condon, Met commissioner at the time of the “spy” in the Lawrence camp, denied any knowledge of the deployment, telling the House of Lords: “At no stage did I ever authorise, or encourage, or know about any action by any undercover officer in relation to Mr and Mrs Lawrence or their friends or supporters or the Macpherson inquiry hearings. Had I known I would have stopped this action immediately as inappropriate.”The fallout after the Ellison report is also reaching the courts. Two campaigners are to appeal against their convictions, alleging that an undercover police officer took part in their protest and set fire to a branch of Debenhams, causing damage totalling more than £300,000.The officer, a leading member of the covert unit at the heart of the undercover controversy, was revealed this week to have also been a key figure in thesecret operation to spy on the family of Stephen Lawrence.

The announcement of the appeal comes as scores of convictions involving undercover officers over the past decades are to be re-examined to see if campaigners in a range of political groups have been wrongly convicted.

Ellison, the QC who produced Thursday’s report into the undercover infiltration of the Lawrence campaign, also found that the unit, the special demonstration squad (SDS), had concealed crucial evidence from courts.

Now he has been asked by the home secretary, Theresa May, to identify specific cases in which unjust convictions have been caused by the SDS, which infiltrated political groups between 1968 and 2008.

Vikram Dodd and Rob Evans
The Guardian, Friday 7 March 2014 23.04 GMT

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© 2014 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies.

Stephen Lawrence’s mother: ’21 years of struggle, and there is still more to come’

Doreen Lawrence, mother of murdered black teenager, finds that Scotland Yard corruption even extended to spying on her family, as public inquiry is announced

After being told she had been the victim of two decades of corruption, spying and cover-up, Doreen Lawrence might have vented fury at the Home Office minister opposite her in the House of Lords.
Instead she was dignity defined as she held her tears in check and spoke quietly of her “21 years of struggle” to get to the truth about Scotland Yard’s shameful behaviour over her son Stephen’s murder.
“We weren’t asking for anything special,” she said. “Just what we should have had, like any other citizen of this country.”
Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon, who was made a peer last October, had earlier been given confirmation that the Metropolitan Police planted a “spy in the Lawrence family camp” to “smear” them.
Yet it was she who was doing the apologising as she told her fellow peers that “I’m getting a bit emotional”.

A report by Mark Ellison QC, which took a year to complete, found that an undercover officer codenamed N81 was planted by the Met’s top secret Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) and passed on information about the state of Doreen and Neville Lawrence’s marriage and other family details to senior officers.
Mr Ellison also found “reasonable grounds” to suspect that one of the detectives investigating her son’s murder had a “corrupt relationship” with the gangster father of one of the killers, and that other officers may also have been corrupt.
Baroness Lawrence, who had to pause to compose herself more than once during her understated speech, said that “still there is more to come out”.
The findings of the report – commissioned by Theresa May, the Home Secretary – were so disturbing that Lord Taylor of Holbeach, the Home Office minister, also struggled to maintain his composure as he faced Baroness Lawrence across the Lords chamber.
“Stephen Lawrence was murdered more than 20 years ago and it’s deplorable that his family have had to wait so many years for the truth to emerge,” he said, clearly on the brink of tears.
Mrs May immediately announced a public inquiry into undercover policing – the second public inquiry into the Met’s handling of the case – describing the report’s findings as “profoundly shocking”.
After Stephen Lawrence, 18, was murdered in Eltham, south east London, in April 1993, Scotland Yard failed for 19 years to bring his killers to justice. The force’s failings prompted the Macpherson Report in 1999, which found that the Met was “institutionally racist”.
But the Ellison report had access to material which was not made available to the Macpherson inquiry, including evidence that suggested DS Davidson was corrupt and had links to Clifford Norris, the father of David Norris, who was convicted of Stephen’s murder together with Gary Dobson in 2012.
Baroness Lawrence, whose first response in the Lords was to thank Mrs May for tackling such a “difficult” issue, spoke of her difficulties over the years in convincing police officers and home secretaries that her suspicions about the Met were valid.
“It’s taken over a year for that [to be proved],” she said, as she spoke without notes. “But it’s taken nearly 21 years since Stephen has been killed and the fact that we as a family had to go through all this…
“It has been 21 years of struggle and no family should have to do that. It is the job of the justice system and the police service to give service to the whole community, not just to one section, and that’s what I have been campaigning for for the last 21 years.”
Lord Taylor, speaking to barely 30 peers who had bothered to stay in the chamber to hear Baroness Lawrence speak, described her speech as “one of the most potent occasions that I can remember, and I would like to thank the noble baroness for her dignity”.
Outside the chamber, Baroness Lawrence called for criminal action to be taken against Met officers, describing the report as the “final nail in the coffin” and calling on those involved to resign for their “disgraceful” actions.
“You can’t trust them,” she said. “Still to this day. Trust and confidence in the Met is going to go right down.
“People look at the Met Police as a good example of what everyone else should be doing across the world. Once this goes out now… they can’t be trusted.
“Why would you want to smear a family when they are grieving because they’ve lost a loved one? At a time when you are suffering, the way my son was murdered, to find out rather than them supporting us as a family, they were doing the complete opposite.”
Stephen’s father, Neville Lawrence, who was divorced from Doreen in 1999 and now lives in Jamaica, said: “What the Home Secretary has announced today is 21 years overdue. Mark Ellison’s report has simply corroborated what I have known for the past 21 years and our long fight for truth and justice continues.
“I sat through the last inquiry but I have yet to decide whether I can go through another inquiry. I’m not sure I can go back to square one again. It is very painful. While all this has been happening, our family has been destroyed. I now live 5,000 miles away from my children and my grandchild.”

By Gordon Rayner, and Steven Swinford8:53PM GMT 06 Mar 2014

Find this story at 6 March 2013

© Copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited 2014

Counter-Terror Cop Moved After Lawrence Report

Police counter-terrorism Commander Richard Walton has been temporarily removed from his post following after a report into the original Stephen Lawrence murder investigation.

The Ellison report revealed an undercover officer, known only as N81, had been planted among supporters of the Lawrence family at the time of the Macpherson¦nbsp;inquiry into racism in the Metropolitan Police.

In 1988, Mr Walton, who was then an acting detective inspector working on Scotland Yard’s Lawrence review team, responsible for making submissions to the judicial inquiry, met N81, the report found.

Commander Walton will now be moved from¦nbsp;SO15¦nbsp;to a non-operational role, Scotland Yard said on Friday.

Earlier, former Met Police Commissioner Sir Paul Condon has said he did not know about the undercover officer.

Lord Condon said that he had neither authorised nor encouraged an officer to be used to get information about the parents of the murdered London teenager.

In a statement, Lord Condon, who was commissioner of the force at the time of Mr Lawrence’s murder in 1993, added that he did not even know it had been done.

The “spy in the camp” fed back information about the Lawrence family to the upper levels of the Metropolitan Police, the report by the barrister Mark Ellison QC concluded.

Lord Condon said: “I confirm and restate the comments I made in the House of Lords last month. That at no stage did I ever authorise, or encourage, or know about any action by any undercover officer in relation to Mr and Mrs Lawrence or their friends or supporters or the Macpherson Inquiry hearings.

“Had I known I would have stopped this action immediately as inappropriate.”

The publication of the report triggered a full public inquiry into the actions of the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS), a now-defunct wing of special branch, amid fears some convictions may be unsafe as a result of their unorthodox work.

The Macpherson Report, which was published in 1998, concluded the police investigation into the murder of the 18-year-old at a bus stop in south London was hampered by institutionalised racism within the Met.

Speaking during a visit to Bedford on Friday, David Cameron said the revelations in the report had been “shocking” and said he agreed with the Home Secretary that there should be a full independent inquiry.

He said: “It should not have taken this long and the Lawrence family have suffered far too much.

“But this will get to the truth and will help us to make sure that we have the very best in terms of British policing which is what this country deserves.”

David Norris and Gary Dobson were finally convicted of and jailed for Mr Lawrence’s murder in 2012.

The teenager’s mother, Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon, described the report as the “final nail in the coffin”.

She said: “You can’t trust them. Still to this day. Trust and confidence in the Met is going to go right down.

“People look at the Met Police as a good example of what everyone else should be doing across the world. Once this goes out now … they can’t be trusted.”

The present Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe¦nbsp;said the report was “devastating” for the force and described it as “one of the worst days that I have seen as a police officer”.

He said: “I cannot rewrite history and the events of the past but I do have a responsibility to ensure the trust and the confidence of the people of London in the Met now and in the future.

“This will need a considered response to meet head-on the concerns that have been expressed in yesterday’s report.”

Friday, 7th March 2014 13:37

Find this story at 7 March 2014

Copyright Sky News 2014

‘Shocking’ findings prompt new police corruption law

A new criminal offence of police corruption will be created following “profoundly shocking” revelations about Scotland Yard’s investigation of Stephen Lawrence’s murder, the home secretary says.

Addressing the House of Commons on Thursday morning, Theresa May said that an addition to the criminal justice and courts bill, which is currently making its way through parliament, would be made to deal with serious police corruption.

The announcement comes after a major review of Scotland Yard’s investigation of the racist murder of the black teenager in south east London found evidence to suspect one of the detectives involved acted corruptly. Mark Ellison QC said that the Met displayed a “significant failure” when allegations made against detective sergeant John Davidson were not brought to the attention of the Macpherson inquiry.

Ms May also announced that a judge-led inquiry into the work of undercover officers is to be held after Ellison found that a Metropolitan Police “spy” was working within the “Lawrence family camp”.

The inquiry will cover the work of Scotland Yard’s special demonstrations squad (SDS), members of which have been revealed to have stolen the identities of dead children and assumed them for decades at a time. Ellison found that the “extraordinary level of secrecy” employed around the squad, which was operational between 1968-2006, meant that there was a “real potential for miscarriages of justice to have occurred”.

In a speech to the Commons that has put the spotlight on the state of British policing, Ms May …

Said a judge will investigate the SDS, which Ellison found to have acted as if it were not bound by normal rules
Said proposals to protect police whistleblowers will be brought forward
Asked Ellison to carry out a further review into potential miscarriages of justice caused by SDS actions
Ordered a “forensic external review” of the Home Office’s role in SDS’ operation
Asked HMIC to look into police anti-corruption efforts
Asked the National Crime Agency to look into how to investigate the allegations in Ellison’s report
Said policing has been “damaged” and needs to rebuild trust
“The totality of what the [Ellison] report shows is deeply troubling,” Ms May told MPs.

The report found that allegations of corruption were made against Mr Davidson, who has now left the police, by a colleague Neil Puttnam. But those were not brought to the attention of Macpherson. “Ellison finds that this lack of disclosure was a significant failure by the Metropolitan Police.”

And Ellison, who successfully prosecuted Gary Dobson and David Norris in 2012 for Stephen Lawrence’s murder, said that there remained lines of inquiry related to Mr Davidson that could provide evidence of corruption among other officers. Although he added that that evidence did not currently exist.

“It is a source of some concern to us that nobody in the MPS (Metropolitan Police Service) who was aware of the detail of what Neil Putnam was saying about Mr Davidson appears to have thought to ask him about Mr Davidson’s motives in the Lawrence case,” the Ellison report stated.

‘Completely improper’
The review also refers to links between the allegedly-corrupt Mr Davidson and the murder of private investigator Daniel Morgan in 1987.

Referring to the finding that a spy, referred to as “N81”, operated within the Lawrence family camp, Ms May said: “In August 1998, the SDS arranged for N81 to meet Richard Walton, then a Detective Inspector involved in writing the Met’s submissions to the McPherson inquiry. SDS files record that they had a ‘fascinating and valuable’ exchange.

“Ellison finds that the opening of this channel of communication was ‘completely improper’. He finds no discernable public benefit to the meeting taking place and says that, had it been disclosed at the time of the inquiry, it would have been seen as the MPS trying to achieve some secret advantage in the inquiry from SDS undercover deployment.

“If it had been made public in 1998, Ellison finds serious public disorder of the very kind so feared by the MPS might well have followed.”

And she said that Ellison’s report found that SDS operated with an “extraordinary level of secrecy”, which meant there was a “real potential for miscarriages of justice to have occurred”.

Ms May said: “In particular, Ellison says there is an inevitable potential for SDS officers to have been viewed by those they are infiltrating as encouraging and participating in criminal behaviour.

“He refers to officers in criminal trials failing to reveal their true identities, meaning that crucial information that should have been disclosed, was not given to the defence and the court.

“And he finds that undercover officers sometimes failed to correct evidence given in court which they knew to be wrong. This means that there is a chance that people could have been convicted for offences when they should not have been. We must, therefore, establish if there have been miscarriages of justice.”

‘Significant failings’
Last June, former SDS officer Peter Francis claimed he had been deployed undercover from September 1993 and tasked to find out any intelligence that might be used to “smear” or undermine the Lawrence family campaign.

As a result, Mr Ellison’s terms of reference were extended, and Operation Herne, an existing police investigation into the activities of the SDS supervised by Mick Creedon, chief constable of Derbyshire, agreed to prioritise “Lawrence-related” aspects of its work.

The Home Secretary acknowledged that undercover officers work in “difficult and dangerous conditions” and that they have helped to bring criminals to justice.

But she said that the Ellison review revealed “very real and substantial failings”. She said: “The picture which emerges about the SDS from this report and from other material in the public domain is of significant failings of judgment, intrusive supervision and leadership over a sustained period.”

She added: “I don’t say this lightly but I think that the greatest possible scrutiny is now needed into what has taken place. And so given the gravity of what has now been uncovered, I have decided a public inquiry led by a judge is necessary to investigate undercover policing and the operation of the SDS.

Only a public inquiry will be able to get to the full truth behind the matters of huge concern contained in Mark Ellison’s report.

Theresa May, home secretary
She told MPs that, alongside the public inquiry, will be a “forensic external review” of the exact role Home Office played in relation to the SDS after a police investigation into the undercover unit – Operation Herne – found the government department was instrumental in setting it up, and initially funded it directly.

Mr Ellison will carry out a further review into cases where SDS secrecy may have caused miscarriages of justice.

Mrs May said the police have been damaged by today’s revelations and action was needed to improve trust and confidence in the Met and other forces.

In a statement, Stephen Lawrence’s father Neville said: “What the Home Secretary has announced today is 21 years overdue. Mark Ellison’s report has simply corroborated what I have known for the past 21 years and our long fight for truth and justice continues.

“I sat through the last inquiry but I have yet to decide whether I can go through another inquiry. I’m not sure I can go back to square one again. It is very painful. While all this has been happening, our family has been destroyed. I now live 5,000 miles away from my children and my grandchild.”

Met Police deputy commissioner Craig Mackey said: “There can be no serving police officer today who will not be saddened, shocked, and very troubled by what the Home Secretary has said, and the conclusions that Mr Ellison has reached.”

He said that the force would “fully support” the public inquiry and other processes ordered by the home secretary.

7 MARCH 2014 UK

Find this story at 7 March 2014

Channel 4 © 2014

Dozens more cases now in doubt: Undercover police unit routinely lied to the courts

Review finds Met’s undercover unit failed to reveal its involvement to courts
Hundreds of political activists could now have their convictions quashed
Those wrongly jailed could also mount civil claims against the Met
SDS came under scrutiny over alleged attempts to smear Lawrence family

New Scotland Yard: The Met Police’s Special Demonstration Squad routinely lied to courts about the actions of its undercover agents, a review has found
Dozens of historic police investigations involving undercover officers are to be re-opened over potential miscarriages of justice.
A review has found that the Metropolitan Police’s Special Demonstrations Squad routinely lied to the courts and failed to reveal the involvement of its undercover officers to defence lawyers.
The revelations raise the prospect of decades- old cases being revisited.
Hundreds of political activists could have their convictions quashed, with animal rights campaigners and protesters from the far Left and Right among those whose charges will now be re-examined.
Anyone wrongly jailed could mount a civil compensation claim against the Met.
The SDS came under scrutiny over its alleged involvement in smearing the family of Stephen Lawrence – but a review by Mark Ellison QC revealed even more worrying allegations in other cases.
He said the nature of undercover work placed serving officers inside groups of activists who came into conflict with the police and faced arrest and prosecution.
He added that a system where this activity was ‘shrouded in almost total secrecy’ and the roles of undercover officers and the intelligence they gathered ‘was not considered in relation to the prosecution’s duty of disclosure in criminal proceedings’ produced ‘the potential for there to have been unfairness in some of those proceedings’.
The Ellison review also found ‘inevitable potential for SDS officers to have been viewed by those they infiltrated as encouraging, and participating in, criminal behaviour.’
As a result ‘there is a real potential for miscarriages of justice to have occurred’, Home Secretary Theresa May said.
Mr Ellison will now review cases involving the unit, which could then be referred to the Attorney General, Dominic Grieve.

Doreen Lawrence fights back tears in House of Lords as she says family has endured ‘21 years of struggle’ after shock revelations of police corruption
Mrs May told the Commons that the SDS, which was set up by the Home Office in 1968, had operated ‘as if exempt from the proper rules of disclosure in criminal cases’, and used an ‘extraordinary level of secrecy’ to protect undercover officers’ identities.
This included failing to reveal their true identities in court.
In Stephen’s murder investigation, an undercover officer, referred to as N81, was found to have held a meeting with acting detective inspector Richard Walton, who had been seconded to the team making submissions to the Macpherson Inquiry.
Mr Ellison branded this meeting ‘a completely improper use’ of intelligence, adding: ‘We find the opening of such a channel of communication at that time to have been wrong-headed and inappropriate.’
He continued: ‘The mere presence of an undercover Metropolitan Police officer in the wider Lawrence family camp in such circumstances is highly questionable in terms of the appearance it creates of the [Met] having a spy in the family’s camp.’
Scroll down for video
Doreen Lawrence, mother of Stephen Lawrence, leaves the Home Office with her son Stuart Lawrence, after meeting with Theresa May last June. They were spied on by an undercover officer as they fought for justice +4
Doreen Lawrence, mother of Stephen Lawrence, leaves the Home Office with her son Stuart Lawrence, after meeting with Theresa May last June. They were spied on by an undercover officer as they fought for justice
Mrs May has now announced that corrupt police officers will face longer jail terms as part of a new misconduct offence. She outlined measures designed to restore trust in the police, which she admitted was ‘damaged’ by the latest revelations. Mrs May told the Commons that the findings of the Ellison review were ‘deeply concerning’ and stressed it was ‘imperative that public trust and confidence in the police is maintained’.
She said: ‘I do not believe corruption and misconduct to be endemic in the police, and it is clear that the majority of policemen and women conduct themselves honestly and with integrity.’
However, she admitted: ‘In policing as in other areas, the problems of the past have a danger of infecting the present, and can lay traps for the future. Policing stands damaged today.
‘Trust and confidence in the Metropolitan Police, and policing more generally, is vital. A public inquiry, and the other work I have set out, are part of the process of repairing the damage.’
In memory: Mark Ellison QC called a meeting between the officer spying on the Lawrence family and an officer on to the team making submissions to the Macpherson Inquiry ‘a completely improper use’ of intelligence +4
In memory: Mark Ellison QC called a meeting between the officer spying on the Lawrence family and an officer on to the team making submissions to the Macpherson Inquiry ‘a completely improper use’ of intelligence

Theresa May orders new Stephen Lawrence public inquiry

A new offence of police misconduct will replace the existing common law offence of misconduct in public office. This comes with a maximum sentence of life, but is rarely used. The new law will reflect the importance of maintaining trust in the police – and the serious consequences of police corruption.
Mrs May said the current rules are ‘outdated’ and the new offence will be ‘focused clearly on those who hold police powers’. It could become law within months.
The Home Secretary has also ordered a review of police forces’ standards departments, to ensure they are capable of investigating lower-level complaints.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission will be given an extra £15million and the power to probe all serious complaints, instead of leaving forces to investigate their own. Mrs May said the watchdog was being ‘expanded and emboldened so it will have responsibility for dealing with all serious and sensitive cases’.

By JACK DOYLE
PUBLISHED: 23:24 GMT, 6 March 2014 | UPDATED: 23:29 GMT, 6 March 2014

Find this story at 6 march 2014

© Associated Newspapers Ltd

Lies, spies, cover-ups and corruption… the sickening extent of Stephen Lawrence’s betrayal by the police is exposed as May orders inquiry into undercover smear op

Police lies exposed in official report into the Stephen Lawrence case
Report also reveals allegations of a ‘spying operation’ on teen’s family
Evidence suggests Detective Sergeant John Davidson acted corruptly
Findings are described as ‘profoundly shocking’ by Theresa May
Investigation into murder case carried out by barrister Mark Ellison, QC
Home Secretary orders a judge-led public inquiry into undercover policing
Stephen Lawrence was killed in an unprovoked racist attack in April 1993
His mother Doreen says her family has endured ’21 years of struggle’
Baroness Lawrence calls for those involved to resign

Damning: An official report has exposed two decades of police lies about the investigation into the murder of Stephen Lawrence, who died in 1993
Two decades of shameful police lies about the Stephen Lawrence case were exposed in a damning official report yesterday.
Shocking allegations of corruption, a police cover-up and a ‘spying operation’ on the teenager’s grieving family were laid bare.
And the report also revealed that undercover police operations spanning decades may have led to scores of wrongful convictions and miscarriages of justice.
The findings – described as ‘profoundly shocking’ by Home Secretary Theresa May – were contained in a major report into the Stephen Lawrence murder investigation by barrister Mark Ellison, QC.
Mrs May has now ordered a judge-led public inquiry into undercover policing in light of the report, in particular the Met’s now disgraced undercover unit, the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS). She has also demanded a fresh criminal probe into the corruption allegations that have dogged the Met’s Lawrence investigation for 21 years.
Stephen’s mother Doreen, now Baroness Lawrence, fought back tears in the House of Lords as she said her family had endured ‘21 years of struggle’ and called for those involved to resign.
On a day of extraordinary revelations, it emerged that:
Evidence suggests a detective on the original murder investigation, Detective Sergeant John Davidson, acted corruptly.
Key documents relating to corruption in the original inquiry were shredded by Scotland Yard in 2003.
A number of serving and former senior Met officers, including former Commissioner John Stevens, are facing difficult questions over the scandal.
A criminal offence of police corruption is to be brought forward by the Government to replace the ‘outdated’ offence of misconduct in public office.
The report comes barely two years after two of the original murder suspects, Gary Dobson and David Norris, were convicted of Stephen’s murder following a marathon quest for justice by his parents.
Stephen, who was 18 and hoped to become an architect, was stabbed to death by a group of up to six white youths in an unprovoked racist attack as he waited at a bus stop in Eltham, South-East London, with a friend on April 22, 1993.

Dozens more cases now in doubt: Undercover police unit routinely lied to the courts
Doreen Lawrence fights back tears in House of Lords as she says family has endured ‘21 years of struggle’ after shock revelations of police corruption
The 1999 Macpherson Inquiry into his death accused the Met of being institutionally racist but concluded that police corruption had not thwarted the case.
The Lawrences have always disagreed with the conclusion and yesterday’s Ellison Review is seen as a vindication of their campaign. It was also another bad day for the Met, still reeling over the Plebgate row.
Emotional: Stephen’s mother Doreen, now Baroness Lawrence, fought back tears in the House of Lords as she said her family had endured ’21 years of struggle’ +11
Stephen’s devastated father Neville said the findings were ’21 years overdue’ +11
Emotional: Stephen’s mother Doreen, now Baroness Lawrence, fought back tears as she said her family had endured ’21 years of struggle’, while his devastated father Neville said the findings were ’21 years overdue’
Announcing the public inquiry, Mrs May told the Commons the actions of undercover officers – such as failing to reveal their true identities in court or to correct evidence they knew was wrong – meant there was ‘real potential for miscarriages of justice’.
‘Policing stands damaged today,’ she said. ‘Trust and confidence in the Metropolitan Police and policing more generally is vital. A public inquiry and the other work I have set out are part of the process of repairing the damage. Stephen Lawrence was murdered over 20 years ago and it is still deplorable that his family have had to wait so many years for the truth to emerge.’
Former home secretary Jack Straw said he believed institutional corruption might have been found within the Met if the Macpherson Inquiry had received all the evidence.
‘How can we trust them? Confidence in the Met will go right down’
Doreen Lawrence
The Labour MP said it was now clear there was probably dishonesty at the highest level of the force, which led it to refuse to offer evidence despite being required to do so.
Baroness Lawrence described the latest revelations as the ‘final nail in the coffin’ and said those involved should resign for their ‘disgraceful’ actions.
‘You can’t trust them. Still to this day. Trust and confidence in the Met is going to go right down,’ she said.
Stephen’s devastated father Neville said the findings were ‘21 years overdue’.
He added: ‘I sat through the last inquiry but I have yet to decide whether I can go through another inquiry. It is very painful. While all this has been happening, our family has been destroyed. I now live 5,000 miles away from my children and my grandchild.’
The activities of police moles were a key part of the Ellison review after a former SDS officer, Peter Francis, claimed he had been deployed undercover from September 1993 and tasked to ‘smear’ the Lawrence family campaign.
Theresa May orders new Stephen Lawrence public inquiry

Campaign: Neville and Doreen Lawrence attend a press conference at the commission for racial equality in 1997 +11
Campaign: Neville and Doreen Lawrence attend a press conference at the commission for racial equality in 1997
Landmark: The Daily Mail’s front page from February 14, 1997 which launched the paper’s campaign to achieve justice for Stephen Lawrence +11
Landmark: The Daily Mail’s front page from February 14, 1997 which launched the paper’s campaign to achieve justice for Stephen Lawrence
In his report Mr Ellison, who successfully prosecuted Gary Dobson and David Norris for Stephen’s murder in 2012, found that an SDS ‘spy’ was working within the ‘Lawrence family camp’ during the Macpherson public inquiry.
The SDS was a shadowy undercover unit formed by the Met’s Special Branch, and operated between 1968 and 2008.
‘The presence of an undercover officer in the Lawrence family camp is highly questionable’
Mark Ellison, QC
Mr Ellison also said there evidence to suspect one of the detectives on the original Lawrence murder investigation, Detective Sergeant John Davidson, was in a corrupt relationship with David Norris’s gangster father Clifford Norris. There was a high level of suspicion that the former officer was corrupt both before and after he worked on the police investigation, he added.
He said his review had not been able to uncover all material evidence relating to the issue of corruption, adding that it was clear there were ‘significant areas’ where relevant Met records should exist but could not be found. The original anti-corruption intelligence database itself could not be accounted for, the report added.
Met Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackey: ‘There can be no serving police officer today who will not be saddened, shocked, and very troubled by what the Home Secretary has said, and the conclusions Mr Ellison has reached.
QUESTIONS POLICE CHIEFS MUST ANSWER
Sir Paul Condon, Met Commissioner 1993-2000
Q What did you know about the alleged spying operation into the Lawrence family and if you didn’t know why not?
Sir John Stevens, Met Commissioner 2000-05, Deputy Commissioner 1998-99
Q What did you know about the decision to pulp key documents on corruption relating to the Lawrence case? Should the Met have been more transparent about corruption to Macpherson?
Ex-Deputy Assistant Commissioner John Grieve, asked in 1998 to head a new murder inquiry.
Q What did you know about the secret bugging of meetings between Dwayne Brooks, Stephen’s friend who was there on the night, and his lawyer?
Commander Richard Walton
Q Who asked you to meet the police spy and why?
Ex-Assistant Commissioner Sir Dave Veness, in overall charge of SDS from 1994.
Q How much did you know about the activities of SDS in relation to the Lawrence case?
Whistleblowers: Leveson got it wrong +11
The killer’s gangster father who’s accused of menacing witnesses… and a disgraced cop he’s alleged to have corrupted
Pictured: A down-at heel Clifford Norris yesterday +11
Pictured: A down-at heel Clifford Norris yesterday
Known as the Godfather of Eltham, his menacing shadow hung over the Lawrence case from its earliest days.
Clifford Norris, one of South London’s most ruthless gangsters, is suspected of intimidating key witnesses and corrupting police officers to stop his son David being convicted of Stephen’s murder.
Although on the run for drugs and gun offences when Stephen was stabbed to death, Norris senior remained a feared and enormously powerful figure in the Eltham area. Witnesses knew their life would be in jeopardy if they testified against his son.
At the time, Norris lived the high-life. In keeping with his crime baron status, he drove fancy cars, owned a Kent mansion, and his penchant for expensive restaurants and fine wines turned him into a bloated little man with a double chin and a paunch that strained the buttons of his designer suits. However, today he cuts a very different figure.
With the fortune he made from drug deals sequestered by the courts, and his empire usurped by rivals during his years in prison, the 55-year-old has sought solace in the bottle.
Now a scrawny, emaciated man with rheumy eyes and a hard drinker’s broken veins, he lives in a scruffy flat above a shop called the Hose and Bearing Company, on a narrow street of dilapidated terrace houses close to the Eurostar terminal in Ashford, Kent.
His power may have gone, but the destruction he wreaked on the Lawrence investigation lives long in the memory.
How far his tentacles extended into the Metropolitan Police is hard to ascertain, even after yesterday’s report by Mark Ellison QC, which suggested he had a corrupt relationship with Detective Sergeant John Davidson, who worked on the initial Lawrence murder inquiry.
This is partly because – disgracefully – many of the records have been destroyed in an apparent attempt to cover up the corruption which blighted the original inquiry.
It is also known that Norris once had a close relationship with at least one other officer, Detective Sergeant David Coles, of the Flying Squad. Coles told a police disciplinary inquiry that he had been cultivating Norris as an informant in the 1980s.
Investigators concluded that there was ‘a much closer relationship than Coles was prepared to admit to’. He was disciplined for a separate matter and dismissed, but reinstated at a lower rank on appeal.
The damage Norris caused to the Lawrence investigation began to unravel in the summer of 1994, a year after Stephen was killed, when a new senior detective, Bill Mellish, took charge of the case and decided it was time to sort out the ‘Norris problem’ once and for all.
Norris’s jailed son David +11
Gary Dobson was also jailed for Stephen’s murder +11
Jailed: Norris’s son David (left) and Gary Dobson (right) were both jailed for Stephen’s murder
Detectives believed that Norris had attempted to bribe a teenager called Stacey Benefield, who was stabbed by his tearaway son David in March 1993, a few weeks before Stephen’s death.
Shortly after Mr Benefield had left hospital, he was approached by one of his henchmen. He was said to have made the teenager an offer he couldn’t refuse: his boss (Clifford Norris) wanted to ‘make things right’.
According to police, the thug took Mr Benefield to an undisclosed location to meet Norris senior, who handed him £2,000 and said: ‘This is how I sort people out by not shooting them.’
At the subsequent trial, Mr Benefield changed his story and said he now could ‘not remember’ who had stabbed him. Amid allegations that the jury had been nobbled, David Norris was acquitted of attempted murder.
Murder squad chief Mr Mellish believed that in relation to the Lawrence case, Clifford Norris had ‘schooled’ his son and the other suspects in anti-surveillance techniques and the importance of keeping silent.
The breakthrough against the crime boss came when his team rummaged through a dustbin outside Norris’s home in Chislehurst, Kent, and found a birthday card addressed to his wife, Theresa ‘Tracie’ Norris.
They tailed her to a holiday cottage near Battle, in East Sussex, where they pounced on Norris. He was later convicted of conspiracy to import cannabis and related firearms offences and in June 1996 was jailed for nine and a half years. He was freed from Maidstone prison in January 2001.
By the time of his release, he had been abandoned by his lieutenants. His money had dried up, too. While behind bars, Customs ordered him to hand over £386,000 in drugs profits and seized his mansion in Chislehurst, Kent, claiming it was bought with the proceeds of crime. His wife also left him.
Today he spends most days watching daytime TV – his favourites include The Jeremy Kyle Show, This Morning and Loose Women.
There are occasional visits to the off-licence to stock up on alcohol and to his local, a particularly grotty haunt of heavy drinkers and fellow down and outs.
Approached by the Mail yesterday, he said: ‘I’ve got nothing to say to you about anyone.
‘I’ve got no questions to answer, it’s got nothing to do with me. It’s 20-odd years old, it’s too old for me now all this. I don’t know anything about a report, I can’t comment.’
Asked about his son’s conviction for Stephen Lawrence’s murder, he said: ‘I don’t agree with that.’
Disgraced detective to be questioned over claims he helped shield Stephen’s killers
Retirement in the sun: Former detective John Davidson outside his bar in Menorca in 2006 +11
Retirement in the sun: Former detective John Davidson outside his bar in Menorca in 2006
A detective who investigated the murder of Stephen Lawrence is expected to be questioned by police over claims he helped shield the teenager’s killers.
The National Crime Agency will probe claims that former Detective Sergeant John Davidson had a corrupt relationship with Clifford Norris, father of one of the original Lawrence suspects, during the early stages of the investigation.
Last night speculation was mounting that Davidson could be questioned on suspicion of misconduct in a public office or perverting the cause of justice – both of which carry heavy jail terms – by Britain’s new crime fighting force.
Mark Ellison’s hard-hitting review of the Lawrence case concluded there is evidence to suspect Davidson had acted corruptly. The QC said there was a high level of suspicion that the former officer was corrupt both before and after he worked on the Lawrence investigation.
And there were still lines of inquiry that may be capable of providing evidence of corruption among other officers, although that evidence did not currently exist, his review added.
His bombshell conclusion is a major embarrassment to Scotland Yard which two years ago dismissed renewed corruption claims against Davidson. The officer, who has previously denied sabotaging the Lawrence investigation, could not be reached for comment last night.
He is thought to be running a bar/restaurant on the island of Menorca, where he retired after controversially escaping prosecution over a series of police corruption allegations.
In 2006, former Met Assistant Commissioner John Yates told a BBC programme about the Lawrence case he had no doubt that Davidson was corrupt.
But in his report into the Lawrence case, published in 1999, Sir William Macpherson criticised Mr Davidson’s conduct but did not accuse him of corruption: ‘We are not convinced DS Davidson positively tried to thwart the investigation.’
Now it seems it will only be a matter of time before officers from the NCA track him down to quiz him over his role in the Lawrence case. The claims against him originate from a former corrupt colleague turned supergrass called Neil Putnam.
In late July 1998, Scotland Yard’s Anti-Corruption Command held a debriefing with former Detective Constable Putnam, in which he alleged that Mr Davidson had admitted he had a corrupt relationship with Clifford Norris.
Retreat: Davidson is thought to be running a bar/restaurant on the island of Menorca, where he retired after controversially escaping prosecution over a series of police corruption allegations (file photo) +11
Retreat: Davidson is thought to be running a bar/restaurant on the island of Menorca, where he retired after controversially escaping prosecution over a series of police corruption allegations (file photo)
In his report yesterday, Mr Ellison said that both the intelligence picture suggesting Mr Davidson was a corrupt officer and the content of Mr Putnam’s debriefing should have been revealed to Sir William Macpherson’s public inquiry – but it was not.
‘It is a source of some concern to us that nobody in the MPS (Metropolitan Police Service) who was aware of the detail of what Neil Putnam was saying about Mr Davidson appears to have thought to ask him about Mr Davidson’s motives in the Lawrence case,’ the report stated. Mr Ellison said that, while independent corroboration of Mr Putnam’s allegation did not currently exist, there were ‘outstanding lines of inquiry’ that could be investigated, which may change that assessment.
Davidson, a tough-talking ‘old school’ detective who began his career as a constable in Glasgow, joined the Lawrence investigation within 36 hours of the stabbing in Eltham, south-east London in April 1993.
He is said to have mishandled a key informant known as ‘James Grant’ who had just identified David Norris and others as suspects for the murder. He also arrested and interviewed Gary Dobson and carried out the interview of another suspect, Luke Knight.
In the Macpherson report he was criticised as ‘self-willed and abrasive’ and offering ‘undoubtedly unsatisfactory’ evidence. However the inquiry panel concluded: ‘We are not convinced that DS Davidson positively tried to thwart the effectiveness of the investigation.’
But it is now know that over four months between July and October 1998, as Sir William Macpherson continued to take evidence at his inquiry, Putnam detailed shocking corruption at East Dulwich branch of the regional crime squad.
This included three specific acts of dishonesty he claimed to have carried out with Davidson and an informant they managed together: the disposal of stolen watches, handling stolen electrical equipment, and the theft of cocaine from a drug dealer.
Putnam says he told investigators that Davidson had one day casually admitted to him that he was in a corrupt relationship with Clifford Norris. Davidson was allowed to retire on ill health grounds to run a bar on the island of Menorca after prosecutors decided there was a lack of corroborating evidence.
In 2006, the Lawrence family asked the Independent Police Complaints Commission to investigate Putnam’s claims to Panorama that the Met failed to disclose to the Macpherson inquiry what he had told them of a Davidson-Norris link.
The police watchdog said in 2007 it could not find evidence for Putnam’s Panorama allegations.
Two years ago, when there were new claims about Davidson’s links to Norris, the Met was dismissive.
It said Davidson ‘was subject to an in-depth corruption investigation’ but there was never any evidence of him being involved in corrupt activity within the Lawrence inquiry ‘or doing anything to thwart that investigation’.
The Met added: ‘We do not consider that any new or significant information has emerged.’

By STEPHEN WRIGHT
PUBLISHED: 23:37 GMT, 6 March 2014 | UPDATED: 08:09 GMT, 7 March 2014

Find this story at 6 March 2014

© Associated Newspapers Ltd

Undercover police: What have we learned?

A review into allegations of corruption surrounding the Stephen Lawrence murder investigation has published its damning verdict.

It prompted the home secretary to announce a public inquiry into undercover policing.

The report by Mark Ellison QC, which was commissioned by the home secretary, led to Theresa May making a statement to the House of Commons.

She told MPs: “The problems of the past have a danger of infecting the present, and can lay traps for the future. Policing stands damaged today.”

Operation Herne, the current criminal investigation into Scotland Yard’s Special Demonstration Squad (SDS), also issued an update report.

So, what did we learn?

Home Secretary Theresa May: “Only a public inquiry will be able to get at the full truth”
Theresa May statement
New public inquiry into undercover policing to be held after final report of Operation Herne – the criminal investigation into SDS undercover police unit – and completion of a review into possible miscarriages of justice
New offence of police corruption that would replace one of misconduct in public office announced. Government legislation is likely within weeks, says the BBC’s chief political correspondent Norman Smith
Chief Inspector of Constabulary Tom Winsor to look at the anti-corruption capabilities of police forces, including professional standards departments
The director general of the National Crime Agency to “consider quickly” how best outstanding lines of inquiry into alleged corruption by a specific officer – and possibly others – can be investigated
A “forensic external review” into how much the Home Office knew about SDS
A review, led by Mark Ellison and working with the Crown Prosecution Service, into possible miscarriages of justice caused by SDS’s secrecy
New code of ethics for police
Expansion and “emboldening” of Independent Police Complaints Commission, so that it is responsible for dealing with all serious and sensitive cases involving the police
Stronger protection for whistleblowers in the police. Proposals to be brought to the House in due course
From the autumn, people from outside the police can be brought in to senior positions. A fund for direct entrant superintendents from then until spring 2018.
Stephen Lawrence
Mrs May said: “Stephen Lawrence was murdered over 20 years ago and it is still deplorable that his family have had to wait so many years for the truth to emerge.”

Ellison review
The report from Mark Ellison QC – who successfully prosecuted Gary Dobson and David Norris in 2012 for Stephen’s murder – was entitled the Stephen Lawrence Independent Review; it considered possible corruption and the role of undercover policing in the Stephen Lawrence case.

It found:

A Special Demonstration Squad “spy” worked within the “Lawrence family camp” during the Macpherson inquiry, which looked into the way the police had investigated Stephen Lawrence’s death
This was “highly questionable”
The “spy” – referred to as N81 – was found to have met acting Detective Inspector Richard Walton. Mr Walton had been seconded to the MPS Lawrence review team, responsible for making submissions to the Macpherson inquiry
This meeting was “a completely improper use” of intelligence
Information on undercover policing had been withheld from the Macpherson inquiry
The review was unable to make “definitive findings” concerning former undercover officer Peter Francis’s claims and suggested a public inquiry could be better placed to do so
There were “reasonable grounds” to suspect one of the detectives on the original Stephen Lawrence murder investigation – Det Sgt John Davidson – acted corruptly
There was no evidence of corruption by other officers, but there were lines of inquiry which may uncover other cases
The Independent Police Complaints Commission 2006 report into corruption allegations and the Metropolitan Police’s own review in 2012 were inadequate
Scotland Yard’s record keeping on its own investigations into police corruption were a cause of concern, with key evidence the subject of mass shredding in 2003
Operation Herne
Set up in 2011 in response to allegations made by the Guardian newspaper about alleged misconduct and criminality engaged in by members of the SDS, the operation is led by Mick Creedon, chief constable of Derbyshire police.

Duwayne Brooks
There was no evidence the Met attempted to smear Duwayne Brooks, said Operation Herne
It published its first report in July last year. In Thursday’s update, it said:

It has found “no evidence” that a member of SDS was tasked to smear murdered Stephen Lawrence’s family – as claimed by former undercover officer Peter Francis
No evidence Peter Francis was tasked to smear or investigate Duwayne Brooks, Stephen’s friend who was with him when he was murdered
No evidence Mr Francis was prevented by managers within Special Branch from making disclosures to the Macpherson Inquiry
On the question of whether criminal charges should be brought over sexual relationships SDS officers had with unsuspecting women, there were “no sexual offences committed however, the offence of misconduct in public office may be applicable”
It found that while management did not authorise the relationships, a “tradecraft” document gave informal advice about those situations
A “distinct lack of intrusive management by senior leaders within the Metropolitan Police Service appears to have facilitated the development and apparent circulation of internal inappropriate advice regarding an undercover police officer’s engagement in sexual relationships”
Three undercover officers – one of whom is still serving – could face prosecution.

6 March 2014 Last updated at 19:08 GMT

Find this story at 6 March 2014

BBC © 2014

UK police squad ‘out of control’

HUNDREDS of political activists could have their convictions quashed after the publication of a report into the conduct of a secret undercover police unit in the Stephen Lawrence case.

The prosecutions of protesters from the far Left and Right, as well as animal rights campaigners, black justice groups and Irish republicans, will be checked against the records of the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) amid concerns that some were unsafe.

The review will pave the way for a public inquiry into the SDS, which was set up by the Home Office in 1968, learnt its tactics from the intelligence services and evolved into an out-of-control wing of the Metropolitan Police Special Branch.

A report by Mark Ellison, QC, into the actions of the SDS in the Lawrence case revealed yesterday (Thursday) that it had placed a “spy in the camp” of the murdered black teenager’s family. Information gathered by that spy was fed back to the upper echelons of Scotland Yard.

Twenty-one years after Stephen’s death, and weeks before new inquests open into the Hillsborough disaster and with the Plebgate affair still rumbling, the latest disclosures are immensely damaging for confidence and trust in the Police Service and the international reputation of British policing.

Theresa May, the Home Secretary, said that Mr Ellison’s findings were profoundly disturbing and a judge-led public inquiry was necessary to get to the full truth.

Before that can happen, however, criminal cases involving the SDS — whose officers gave false evidence in the courts and believed that they were exempt from the normal rules of evidence disclosure — will be reviewed.

“There is a chance that people could have been convicted for offences when they should not have been,” Mrs May told the Commons.

Stephen, 18, who wanted to become an architect, was murdered by a gang of white youths in an unprovoked racist attack in Eltham, southeast London, in April 1993. A group of men were identified as suspects within hours, but it took 18 years for the Met to bring two of them to justice.

The Macpherson report, published after a public inquiry in 1998, said that the Met’s approach to the investigation had been hampered because the force was institutionally racist.

Mr Ellison’s review of the case found that key material had been withheld by the Met from the Macpherson inquiry team.

His key findings included:

— An SDS officer, known as N81, was embedded in an activist group allied to the Lawrence family campaign and had wrong-headed and inappropriate meetings with a member of the Scotland Yard team at the Macpherson inquiry;

— Senior police showed clear evidence of a strong feeling of indignation and a degree of hostility towards the family’s criticisms of the murder investigation;

— There were reasonable grounds to suspect that a detective sergeant on the murder team was corrupt and might have had links to a key suspect’s father;

— The Met carried out a mass shredding of intelligence files on corrupt officers in 2003;

— There was no conclusive evidence to prove or disprove a claim by the former SDS officer Peter Francis that he was asked to smear Stephen Lawrence’s family.

A separate report on the police investigation into the SDS said that three former officers who had sexual relations with women who did not know their true identities could face criminal charges.

In addition to the public inquiry, Mrs May announced other measures to reinforce her drive to improve police integrity and change policing culture.

A specific offence of police corruption would replace the outdated crime of misconduct in a public office and greater safeguards for police whistleblowers would be brought in, she said.

A national audit of police forces’ anti-corruption capabilities will be carried out and the Home Office will fund the entry into policing at senior ranks of talented people from other walks of life.

THE TIMES MARCH 08, 2014 12:00AM

Find this story at 7 March 2014

Copyright theaustralian.com.au

More shocking police revelations – but will another judicial inquiry really help?

Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse for the police after the Hillsborough cover-up allegations and the Plebgate row, it just has. Theresa May, the Home Secretary, has just told MPs about the shocking findings of an inquiry into how they dealt with the aftermath of the Stephen Lawrence murder 20 years ago.
We know they handled the investigation incompetently because the Macpherson inquiry told us so and they failed for a long time to bring anyone to justice for the killing. Macpherson said their investigations were hampered by “institutional racism”. Not until 2012 were Gary Dobson and David Norris found guilty of murdering Stephen and jailed.
Recently, however, it has further been alleged that the Met also tried to cover up their mistakes both by seeking to besmirch the Lawrence family and by getting rid of evidence. A review by Mark Ellison QC found that a police undercover officer attached to the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) was working within the Lawrence family camp during the course of the Macpherson inquiry but this had been kept secret.
Undercover officers were deployed by the SDS into activist groups that then sought to attach themselves to the Lawrence’s family’s campaign to challenge the adequacy of the investigation into Stephen’s murder.
Mr Ellison said: “The mere presence of an undercover Metropolitan Police officer in the wider Lawrence family camp in such circumstances is highly questionable in terms of the appearance it creates of the MPS having a spy in the family’s camp.”
Mrs May said the review was “deeply troubling” and has now ordered another judge-led public inquiry into the activities of the SDS, a Special Branch unit wound up in 2008. Ellison’s review said there is evidence to suspect one of the detectives on the original Stephen Lawrence murder investigation acted corruptly.
But do we need yet another judicial inquiry? Ellison himself concluded that a public inquiry would have “limited” potential to uncover further evidence regarding corruption in the original murder investigations. Since the SDS no longer exists examining its role will be of hisorical interest, though many will say there are lessons for current policing to be learnt.
On the other hand if there is evidence that would stand up in court why not put any officer suspected of an offence on trial? Mrs May says she proposes to introduce a new offence of “police corruption” because it was untenable to rely on the outdated offence of misconduct in public office in such cases. But it is hard to believe there are not already laws against such behaviour that could be used.
As with Hillsborough, many of the allegations made against the police and initially dismissed appear to have more than a semblance of veracity. At every turn the reputation of the police is taking a hammering, which must be frustrating for the majority of officers who do their duty every day.
The Macpherson inquiry left a legacy that the Met has found hard to shake off, even though its culture has been transformed since. It is hard to see what another judicial inquiry will achieve.

By Philip Johnston Politics Last updated: March 6th, 2014

Find this story at 6 March 2014

© Copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited 2014

Doreen Lawrence: ‘You can’t trust the Met Police’

The mother of Stephen Lawrence, who was murdered in 1993, told ITV News she still does not trust the Metropolitan Police after a review into the police inquiry looking at her son’s death uncovered evidence of corruption.

When asked whether black people could trust the force, Doreen Lawrence said: “This is going to put another nail in their coffin, definitely not, you just can’t trust them,”

Last updated Fri 7 Mar 2014

Find this story at 7 March 2014

© Copyright ITV plc 2014

Did an undercover cop help organise a major riot?

The wrongly convicted activist John Jordan claims the Met helped plan serious civil disorder. An independent public inquiry is now vital

From the Stephen Lawrence inquiry we learned that the police were institutionally racist. Can it be long before we learn that they are also institutionally corrupt? Almost every month the undercover policing scandal becomes wider and deeper. Today I can reveal a new twist, which in some respects could be the gravest episode yet. It surely makes the case for an independent public inquiry – which is already overwhelming – unarguable.

Before I explain it, here’s a summary of what we know already. Thanks to the remarkable investigations pursued first by the victims of police spies and then by the Guardian journalists Rob Evans and Paul Lewis (whose book Undercover is as gripping as any thriller), we know that British police have been inserting undercover officers into protest movements since 1968. Their purpose was to counter what they called subversion or domestic extremism, which they define as seeking to “prevent something from happening or to change legislation or domestic policy … outside the normal democratic process”. Which is a good description of how almost all progressive change happens.

Most of the groups whose infiltration has now been exposed were non-violent. Among them were the British campaign against apartheid in South Africa, the protest movements against climate change, people seeking to expose police corruption and the campaign for justice for the murdered black teenager Stephen Lawrence. Undercover officers, often using the stolen identities of dead children, worked their way into key positions and helped to organise demonstrations. Several started long-term relationships with the people they spied on. At least two fathered children with them.

Some officers illegally used their false identities in court. Some acted as agents provocateurs. Seldom did they appear to be operating in the wider interests of society. They collected intelligence on trade unionists that was passed to an agency which compiled unlawful blacklists for construction companies, ensuring that those people could not find work. The policeman who infiltrated the Stephen Lawrence campaign was instructed by his superiors to “hunt for disinformation” about the family and their supporters that could be used to undermine them. When their tour of duty was over, the police abandoned their partners and their assumed identities and disappeared, leaving a trail of broken lives. As the unofficial motto of the original undercover squad stated, it would operate By Any Means Necessary.

The revelations so far have led to 56 people having their cases or convictions overturned, after police and prosecutors failed to disclose that officers had helped to plan and execute the protests for which people were being prosecuted. But we know the names of only 11 spies, out of 100-150, working for 46 years. Thousands of people might have been falsely prosecuted.

So far there have been 15 official inquiries and investigations. They seem to have served only to delay and distract. The report by Sir Christopher Rose into the false convictions of a group of climate change protesters concluded that failures by police and prosecutors to disclose essential information to the defence “were individual, not systemic” and that “nothing that I have seen or heard suggests that … there was any deliberate, still less dishonest, withholding of information”. Now, after an almost identical case involving another group of climate activists, during which the judge remarked that there had been “a complete and total failure” to disclose evidence, Rose’s findings look incredible.

The biggest inquiry still running, Operation Herne, is investigating alleged misconduct by the Metropolitan police. Of its 44 staff, 75% work for, er, the Metropolitan police. Its only decisive action so far has been to seek evidence for a prosecution under the Official Secrets Act of Peter Francis, the police whistleblower who has revealed key elements of this story. This looks like an attempt to discourage him from testifying, and to prevent other officers from coming forward.

Bad enough? You haven’t heard the half of it. Last week, the activist John Jordan was told his conviction (for occupying the offices of London Transport) would be overturned. The Crown Prosecution Service refuses to reveal why, but it doubtless has something to do with the fact that one of Jordan’s co-defendants turns out to have been Jim Boyling, a secret policeman working for the Met, who allegedly used his false identity in court.

Jordan has now made a further claim. 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. The J18 Carnival Against Global Capitalism on 18 June 1999 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.

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”.

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.” Boyling, he alleges, drove one of the two cars that were used to block the road to the building.

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.

Still no need for an independent public inquiry? Really?

A fully referenced version of this article can be found at Monbiot.com

George Monbiot
The Guardian, Monday 3 February 2014 20.30 GMT

Find this story at 3 February 2014

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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

Police are cracking down on students – but what threat to law and order is an over-articulate history graduate?

For most of my life student politics has been little more than a joke. Suddenly it’s become both serious and admirable

Why are some of the most powerful people in Britain so terrified of a bunch of students? If that sounds a ridiculous question, consider a few recent news stories. As reported in this paper last week, Cambridge police are looking for spies to inform on undergraduate protests against spending cuts and other “student-union type stuff”. Meanwhile, in London last Thursday, a student union leader, Michael Chessum, was arrested after a small and routine demo. Officers hauled him off to Holborn police station for not informing them of the precise route of the protest – even though it was on campus.

The 24-year-old has since been freed – on the strict condition that he doesn’t “engage in protest on any University Campus and not within half a mile boundary of any university”. Even with a copy of the bail grant in front of me, I cannot make out whether that applies to any London college, any British university – or just any institute of higher education anywhere in the world. As full-time head of the University of London’s student union, Chessum’s job is partly to protest: the police are blocking him from doing his work. But I suppose there’s no telling just what threat to law and order might be posed by an over-articulate history graduate.

While we’re trawling for the ridiculous, let us remember another incident this summer at the University of London, when a 25-year-old woman was arrested for the crime of chalking a slogan on a wall. That’s right: dragged off by the police for writing in water-soluble chalk. Presumably, there would have been no bother had she used PowerPoint.

It all sounds farcical – it is farcical – until you delve into the details. Take the London demo that landed Chessum in such bother: university staff were filming their own students from a balcony of Senate House (the building that inspired the Ministry of Truth in Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, appropriately enough). Such surveillance is a recent tradition, the nice man in the University press office explains to me – and if the police wanted the footage that would be no problem.

That link with the police is becoming increasingly important across more and more of our universities. London students allege that officers and university security guards co-ordinate their attempts to rein in demonstrations while staff comment on the increased police presence around campus. At Sussex, student protests against outsourcing services were broken up this April, when the university called in the police – who duly turned up with riot vans and dogs. A similar thing happened at Royal Holloway university, Surrey in 2011: a small number of students occupied one measly corridor to demonstrate against course closures and redundancies; the management barely bothered to negotiate, but cited “health and safety” and called in the police to clear away the young people paying their salaries.

For most of my life, student politics has been little more than a joke – the stuff of Neil off the Young Ones, or apprentice Blairites. But in the past few years it has suddenly become both serious and admirable, most notably with the protests of 2010 against £9,000 tuition fees and the university occupations that followed. And at just that point, both the police and university management have become very jumpy.

For the police, this is part of the age-old work of clamping down on possible sources of civil disobedience. But the motivation for the universities is much more complicated. Their historic role has been to foster intellectual inquiry and host debate. Yet in the brave new market of higher education, when universities are competing with each other to be both conveyor belts to the jobs market and vehicles for private investment, such dissent is not only awkward – it’s dangerously uncommercial. As Andrew McGettigan, author of The Great University Gamble, puts it: “Anything too disruptive gets in the way of the business plan.”

Last month it appeared that Edinburgh University had forced its student union to sign a gagging clause (now withdrawn). No union officer is allowed to make any public criticism of the university without giving at least 48 hours’ notice. University managers reportedly made that a deal-breaker if the student union was to get any funds.

The managers of the University of London want to shut down the student union at the end of this academic year. The plan – which is why Chessum and co were marching last week – is to keep the swimming pool and the various sports clubs, but to quash all university-wide student representation. After all, the students are only the people paying the salary of the university vice-chancellor, Adrian Smith – why should they get a say? The plan, it may not surprise you to learn, was drawn up by a panel that didn’t number a single student. What with sky-high fees and rocketing rents in the capital, you might think that the need for a pan-London student body had never been higher. But then, you’re not a university manager on a six-figure salary.

Where universities were historically places of free expression, now they are having to sacrifice that role for the sake of the free market. For students, that comes in the form of a crackdown on dissent. Yet the twentysomethings at university now will end up running our politics, our businesses and our media. You might want these future leaders to be questioning and concerned about society. Or you might wonder whether sending in the police to arrest a woman chalking a wall is proportionate. Either way, you should be troubled.

Aditya Chakrabortty
The Guardian, Monday 18 November 2013 20.00 GMT

Find this story at 18 November 2013

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

Police criticised and ridiculed over attempt to spy on students and protesters

Secret footage has revealed how a policeman tried to recruit an activist to feed him information about the political activities of students and other campaigners

Police chiefs have received a hefty dose of criticism, and ridicule, since it was revealed that one of their officers attempted to persuade an activist to spy on Cambridge University students.

As the Guardian disclosed here yesterday, a policeman approached a young activist and tried to recruit him as an informant.

Instead, the activist decided to expose the surveillance with the help of a concealed camera.

He recorded a meeting with the officer who said he wanted information about students, groups such as UK Uncut and Unite Against Fascism, and anti-fracking demonstrators.

A series of clips from the secret footage can be seen here, here, here, here and here.

Cambridge University did not want to comment, saying that it was a matter for the police. Cambridgeshire Police has only said :”Officers use covert tactics to gather intelligence, in accordance with the law, to assist in the prevention and detection of criminal activity.”

Today my colleague Hugh Muir takes an acerbic look at how “the secret snoopy state seeks to monitor the legitimate activity of those who might ask questions of it.”

Here’s a selection of what others have said.

The Cambridge University Student Union said they were “alarmed” and found it “absurd”.

They added :”Tactics such as these are not only intrusive, they also waste time targeting groups which are involved in making important and positive change in our society. We condemn the actions of the police in this matter and hope the Government will look critically at the use of surveillance measures by UK security forces.”

Cambridge Defend Education, an anti-cuts campaign named as a potential target of the infiltration, said :”The police will go to any lengths to gain ‘intelligence’ on activist groups, including deceiving women into long-term intimate relationships. It is telling that the police regard their activities as completely legitimate and legal, reflecting their crucial role in enforcing austerity policies through both violent and covert repression of those who oppose them.”

Rachel Wenstone, deputy president of the National Union of Students, said : “This revelation is an absolute scandal. This is yet another example of the questionable tactics that undercover police officers have taken in recent years to infiltrate campaign groups and extract information.We now need to know just how widespread this practice is.”

She added : “To group the activities of hardworking students’ unions within the same realm as those of the English Defence League is grossly offensive.”

The covertly-recorded footage had shown that the police officer also wanted information about the EDL, but recognised that the activist was on the wrong side of the political divide to provide those details.

Nick Pickles, director of Big Brother Watch, condemned the infiltration of “anti-fracking or educational campaign groups, where there is zero suspicion of any wrongdoing” as “a gross abuse of surveillance powers.”

“Coming after attempts to discredit the family of Stephen Lawrence and undercover officers fathering children with activists this episode makes clear why the police should not be able to approve their own undercover surveillance operations. Judicial oversight is essential if these kinds of abuses are to be prevented.

“Were it not such a stark reminder of the weak oversight of police intelligence operations you’d be forgiven for thinking this was the plot for a student film, albeit inspired more by David Brent than James Bond.”

“There should be a full, independent inquiry into the activities of this unit and I will be writing to the Independent Police Complaints Commission to ask that they investigate.”

Jules Carey, a solicitor at Tuckers’ law firm representing several campaigners taking action against the Metropolitan Police over the alleged behaviour of undercover officers, said of Cambridgeshire Police: “The force has clearly lost its way. There can be no justification in a democracy for attempting to deploy informants into student groups and protest organisations. The force should be seeking to uphold the fundamental right to protest, not taking cynical steps to undermine it”.

Isabella Sankey, director of policy for human rights campaigners Liberty, said: “After the scandalous infiltration of grieving families and environmental movements, police now set their sights on student activism.

“That any group which dares to dissent is apparently fair game should alarm anyone committed to proportionate policing and democracy itself. Proper judicial checks on police surveillance are badly overdue – Parliament must take responsibility and act.”

Find this story at 15 November 2013

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

Police tried to spy on Cambridge students, secret footage shows

Officer is filmed attempting to persuade activist in his 20s to become informant targeting ‘student-union type stuff’

Police sought to launch a secret operation to spy on the political activities of students at Cambridge University, a covertly recorded film reveals.

An officer monitoring political campaigners attempted to persuade an activist in his 20s to become an informant and feed him information about students and other protesters in return for money.

But instead the activist wore a hidden camera to record a meeting with the officer and expose the surveillance of undergraduates and others at the 800-year-old institution.

The officer, who is part of a covert unit, is filmed saying the police need informants like him to collect information about student protests as it is “impossible” to infiltrate their own officers into the university.

The Guardian is not disclosing the name of the Cambridgeshire officer and will call him Peter Smith. He asks the man who he is trying to recruit to target “student-union type stuff” and says that would be of interest because “the things they discuss can have an impact on community issues”.

Smith wanted the activist to name students who were going on protests, list the vehicles they travelled in to demonstrations, and identify leaders of protests. He also asked the activist to search Facebook for the latest information about protests that were being planned.

The other proposed targets of the surveillance include UK Uncut, the campaign against tax avoidance and government cuts, Unite Against Fascism and environmentalists. The Cambridgeshire police initially insisted that there were implications for “national security” but later dropped this argument when challenged.

At another point, the activist asked whether a group known as Cambridge Defend Education, which has protested against tuition fees and education cuts, would be of interest. Smith replied: “That’s the sort of thing that we would be looking for. Again, basic sort of stuff. It’s all the internet. When they have meetings and they are discussing what they are going to do, that’s when we’ll say: ‘Will you go along?'”

Cambridge Defend Education describes itself as being “mostly students and academics from Cambridge University”.

Rachel Wenstone, deputy president of the National Union of Students, said: “This is yet another example of the questionable tactics that undercover police officers have taken in recent years to infiltrate campaign groups and extract information.”

Julian Huppert, the Liberal Democrat MP for Cambridge, tweeted: “I’m shocked by this – seems wholly inappropriate.” Cambridge University did not comment, saying it was a matter for the police.

Cambridgeshire police said: “Officers use covert tactics to gather intelligence, in accordance with the law, to assist in the prevention and detection of criminal activity.”

The disclosures follow prolonged criticism of the police over their secret deployment of long-term undercover officers in political groups since 1968. Police chiefs have been accused of unjustifiably infiltrating and disrupting political groups that use non-violent methods to promote their aims.

Another technique for gathering intelligence on campaigners has been to convince activists to become paid informants and pass on details of future protests and prominent campaigners. The number of informants in political groups, according to police sources, runs into the hundreds.

The covert film sheds light on the rarely visible world of informants, illuminating how the police recruit and task them. The activist, who does not want to be named and has been given the pseudonym John Armstrong, was rung on his mobile out of blue at the beginning of October by the police officer.

Smith said he worked for the police and asked him if he was willing to come to a police station in Cambridge to help him with a matter that he did not disclose.

According to Armstrong, Smith had chosen him because he had been active in environmental and anti-nuclear groups and had been arrested three times on demonstrations, although not charged. He has also lived in Cambridge for many years.

Afterwards, Armstrong contacted the Guardian as he did not want to become an informant. He agreed to wear a concealed camera to record the contents of his second meeting with Smith.

During this meeting, Smith suggested that he wanted Armstrong to start by providing information about local groups in Cambridge, before progressing on to national campaigns.

“Let’s keep it small, you know little things that go on, little meetings that happen where they are going to discuss different issues in Cambridge, whether it be, such as at the university or those sorts of things,” the officer is recorded as saying. When Armstrong said he had been involved in a student-organised occupation of Cambridge University in a protest against tuition fees three years ago and asked if Smith would have been interested in that, Smith said yes. “Again, it’s those sorts of things. You know, what is the feeling of people, if you are inside.”

The young man then asked if it would have been difficult for the police to send their own officers into the occupation, to which Smith replied: “We can’t do it. It’s impossible. That’s why we need to work with people.” Armstrong has not been a student at Cambridge, although many of his friends are at the university.

When contacted by the Guardian, a Cambridgeshire police spokesperson said: “Officers use covert tactics to gather intelligence, in accordance with the law, to assist in the prevention and detection of criminal activity.” They declined to give any details of the unit Smith works for.

Smith outlined what information Armstrong would be required to slip him. “It will be a case of you going to meetings, say, I don’t know, UK Uncut, student … something like that, how many people were there, who was the main speaker, who was giving the talks, what was your assessment of the talk, was it a case of – were they trying to cause problems or were they trying to help people, you know, those sort of things.”

Smith also said he wanted Armstrong to collect information about Cambridge campaigners who were planning to go to protests in other parts of the country. “That’s where the names come in. Because what I will want to know is – OK, who’s going, do they plan on a peaceful protest which is absolutely fine, how they are going to go, as in what vehicles they are going to use, index numbers.”

He goes on to say: “So you will tell me, for example, there’s 50 people going from Cambridge University, these are the vehicles they are travelling in and they are going as a peaceful protest?”

Smith outlined how the information gathered by Armstrong would be funnelled to the police officers in charge of policing the demonstration: “The reason I am asking those questions is because it gives the officers or whoever’s looking after it on that side of things, as in at the protest, an idea of how many people are going to attend, where they are coming from, how many vehicles are going to turn up, so they can put measures in place to keep them off the road and things. It’s not because we want to target people and round them all up and arrest them.”

Smith also suggested that Armstrong use Facebook to find information about groups, adding: “It is easier to ask people like yourself to give us updates … It’s all about us doing things legally … We don’t hack into people’s accounts so then we would ask you for updates.”

The officer also suggested the man he hoped to recruit would be paid expenses or other sums. “You might go to a UK Uncut or Unite Against Fascism meeting one evening, you might get say £30 just for your time and effort for doing that. That’s the sort of thing you are looking at.”

As Smith sought to convince Armstrong to sign up, he also advised him not to “think too deeply” about informing on his fellow campaigners as he might “tie himself up in knots”.

Rob Evans and Mustafa Khalili
The Guardian, Thursday 14 November 2013 13.42 GMT

Find this story at 14 November 2013

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

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
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