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Press release: New Undercover Policing Inquiry hearings two years after historic apology – women affected demand no more delays
20.11.17
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Press release via Police Spies Out of Lives (link), 20 November 2017:

Today the first Undercover Policing Inquiry hearings under new chair John Mitting open, exactly two years after eight women who were deceived into relationships with undercover police officers received a historic apology from the Metropolitan police. (1)

Those women, along with other victims of police spying, are calling for the Undercover Policing Public Inquiry to end the delays, stop tolerating police obstruction and deliver a genuine, rigorous and transparent investigation. (2)

The Undercover Policing Public Inquiry is now in its third year and approaching the date originally planned for the publication of its final report. Instead it has yet to even start, all hearings to date including those this week are preparatory, setting out the terms for the inquiry.

The Undercover Policing Public Inquiry (3) was ordered by Theresa May in March 2015 in response to the revelations of systemic abuse conducted by police officers spying on UK activists. For decades women in the UK were deceived into abusive and non-consensual relationships with undercover police officers who posed as activists.

On 20th November 2015 Assistant Commissioner of the Met, Martin Hewitt, said those relationships were, “abusive, deceitful, manipulative and wrong… these relationships were a violation of the women’s human rights, an abuse of police power and caused significant trauma. I unreservedly apologize on behalf of the Metropolitan police service…relationships like these should never have happened."

This week’s hearings are the first with new chair John Mitting, who has taken over from Lord Justice Pitchford. (4) Many have voiced concerns that Mitting will not respect the openness of approach established by his predecessor.

Mitting, was the former chairman of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission, whose secretive approach to evidence was described as “Kafkaesque”. (5) Mitting is also vice president of the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT), which hears complaints against the intelligence services. The IPT is known for its secret hearings and its record of failure to uphold complaints.

Alison, one of the women who received the Metropolitan Police apology, said:
“After the Met police apology in 2015, they should have cooperated fully with the Public Inquiry. Instead the police have intentionally dragged their feet throughout the process. We want the new chair Lord Justice Mitting to commit to a robust and transparent inquiry to deliver truth and justice.”

Jessica, a core participant in the Inquiry, who was groomed aged 19 into a relationship with a 32 year old police officer said:

“Mitting’s record of presiding over opaque and secretive tribunals is extremely worrying. After three years of deliberate delays we deserve a timely and transparent process. There are potentially many more women who don’t know that the men in their lives were frauds. All we want is the truth.”

ENDS.

Notes:

1. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-34875197

2. There is a demonstration called by the affected women at the inquiry between 9 - 10am outside the Royal Courts of Justice, Strand, London WC2A 2LL.

3. https://www.ucpi.org.uk/

4. Lord Justice Pitchford died last month from motor neurone disease.

5. https://www.theguardian.com/law/2011/jun/16/eu-court-evidence-terrorist-suspects

For further background information:

Police Spies Out of Lives: supporting and representing people affected by intimate relationships with undercover police:
https://policespiesoutoflives.org.uk/

UK Undercover Policing Inquiry: https://www.ucpi.org.uk/

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