Inquiry still refuses to name political groups spied on by officers
UNDERCOVER police who used fake identities to spy on organisations infiltrated more than 1,000 political groups, a public inquiry revealed yesterday.
The number of groups targeted as part of covert spying operations, some of which lasted several years, was announced for the first time yesterday following pressure from campaigners.
The inquiry is examining the conduct of undercover police who infiltrated environmental organisations, animal rights groups, anti-racist campaigns, trade unions and left-wing political parties.
At least 144 police officers are known to have been deployed to spy on political groups since 1968. Sixteen identities have been exposed by campaigners.
Despite pressure from campaigners, the inquiry has still refused to name the organisations that were infiltrated.
Blacklist Support Group secretary Dave Smith, whose book “Blacklisted” revealed the figure in its 2016 update, criticised the judges for refusing to release details of the groups involved, warning of an “Establishment whitewash.”
He told the Star: “Whatever the police try to claim, these are not 1,000 terrorist groups covertly planning to plant bombs.
“These are perfectly peaceful campaigns including trade unions, the Labour Party, CND, environmental and anti-racist activists as well as grieving families who have set up justice campaigns for their deceased relatives.
“If you have been involved in perfectly lawful activism it’s possible you have been under surveillance by these anti-democratic political policing units.”
Mr Smith said the spying operation is likely to include NHS campaigns and tenants’ rights groups.
The “spycops” scandal revealed how police officers used fake identities — often using the names of dead babies — to carry out covert missions.
Prime Minister Theresa May ordered the inquiry when she was home secretary following pressure from victims of undercover operations which included police officers duping women into relationships and even fathering children with them.
Bob Lambert resigned from two university posts in 2015 after he was exposed as a spycop who had infiltrated the Animal Liberation Front in the 1980s and had a child with an activist.
On Tuesday the Home Office announced that Sir John Mitting would replace Christopher Pitchford to lead the inquiry.