UK: Undercover policing inquiry: core participants express serious concerns over anonymity for police officers

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Undercover policing inquiry: core participants express serious concerns over total anonymity for police officers
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Core participants in the UK's undercover policing inquiry have aired serious concerns over the ongoing complete anonymity afforded to former undercover police officers by the inquiry's chair, Sir John Mitting, which is preventing them from finding out the truth of what happened to them.

A letter has been sent to the Home Secretary by 13 women who were deceived into relationships with undercover officers and a statement has been issued by Neville Lawrence (the father of Stephen Lawrence, a teenager killed in a racist murder in 1993).

See: Women demand an urgent meeting with Amber Rudd (Police Spies Out of Lives, link):

"Today, we sent a letter to Amber Rudd, the current Home Secretary, requesting an urgent meeting with her.

We are a group of thirteen women. All of us have suffered the same devastating discovery: that we’d been unwittingly deceived into relationships with undercover police officers, who had been sent to spy on us and our friends.

Some of us made that discovery a long time ago, and have already spent over six gruelling years battling for the truth about what was done to us, and for assurances that this won’t be done to any other women in future.

We wrested an ‘apology’ from the Met Police Service in November 2015, but have had less luck getting answers to our questions: who knew about the existence of these units? how much information did they record about our most intimate lives? what is on our files? who were these men? who were their managers? which groups were they spying on? who authorised their activities? etc

In one notorious case, ‘Alison’ is still waiting for official confirmation that her ex-partner, who she knew as ‘Mark Cassidy’ throughout their relationship, was in fact a married police officer named ‘Mark Jenner’.

Some of us found out more recently, and are still bringing civil claims against the police. They are now threatening us with intrusive assessments by a psychiatrist instructed by the police.
We are fast losing faith in the Undercover Policing Inquiry, and call upon Amber Rudd to take action to prevent it from failing.

And: Statement from Neville Lawrence re: Undercover Policing Inquiry (Hodge Jones & Allen, link):

"I have grave concerns about how Chairman Mitting has been handling the anonymity applications by police officers, consistently granting them anonymity after hearing evidence behind closed doors and disclosing almost nothing to the lawyers representing the victims of police spying. Even senior officers who could give evidence about whether my family or I were spied upon have been granted anonymity, meaning they will give their evidence behind closed doors, shrouded in secrecy.

“This completely undermines my hopes for this Inquiry when it was set up after Mark Ellison QC made his findings. In 2014, the then Home Secretary, Theresa May, said only a public inquiry will be able to get through the full truth behind the matters of huge concern contained in Mr Ellison’s report. This is starting to look like anything but a public inquiry.

“If I do not have the cover names of people who were involved in undercover spying operations, I have no way of knowing for myself whether my family, my friends and I were victims and I will be unable to assist the Inquiry in getting to the truth. The Inquiry will be unable to consider anything except the views of the police whose actions they are investigating.

“I feel that Chairman Mitting is so far removed from the experiences of those who have been victims of undercover policing that he should recognise the need to sit with a panel of experts. His recent comments in court reveal that he just doesn’t get it, and in my view, there is a risk that this will lead to an unfairness to the victims. I call upon the Home Secretary to reconsider her decision not to require the Chair to sit with a panel, as has been requested time and time again by the lawyers for the victims of police spying, or to recuse himself."

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