UK: UNDERCOVER POLICING: The Pitchford Inquiry must ensure openness and transparency from the police


Eveline Lubbers and Dónal O'Driscoll of the Undercover Research Group(link) examine and critique attempts by the Met Police to maintain anonymity for former undercover officers through the use of two anonymous intermediaries only known in public by their codenames 'Jaipur' and 'Karachi'.

 "The anonymity of Karachi and Jaipur is a problem because of their role and position. Operation Motion is part of the unit set up to prepare the Met’s response to the Pitchford Inquiry, the Assistant Commissioner - Public Inquiry Team (AC-PIT), headed by DS Hutchison. However, the work is considered is so secret that Operation Motion operates from a separate location. In their applications for anonymity - which the one officer did for the other, and vice versa - Jaipur and Karachi claim that they are the only two people trusted by the former spycops, and thus that they are the only ones talking to them.

This incestuous arrangement means that Karachi and Jaipur are de facto the point of contact for key witnesses for the Met and even for Pitchford Inquiry. No doubt Operation Motion will lend a hand in preparing their statements as well. We know that some of the former undercover officers who were engaging with the Inquiry independently have since been roped back into Operation Motion. To agree to their anonymity is to agree to expanding the secrecy around the undercover operations instead of minimising it, working towards transparency and accountability.

(...)

Years ago, the PR industry developed a strategy for large corporations to deal with campaigners who criticised them for their wrongdoings, labour conditions, pollution, you name it. In the early days, it was called the 4D strategy, stands for Deny, Delay and - depending on who you ask - Disrupt, Discredit or Deflect, Defend, Dominate; now there are the ten D’s of opposition tactics: deflect, delay, deny, discount, deceive, divide, dulcify, discredit, destroy and deal. The Met is clearly passing through the stages of Denying and Delaying; it would be an interesting exercise to work out what will be their next steps."

See: Officer anonymity threatens the integrity of the Pitchford Inquiry(OpenDemocracy, link)

 

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