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

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© 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