Victims of undercover officers call on May to ensure inquiry exposes extent of malpractice
THERESA MAY faced calls yesterday to ensure the public inquiry into undercover policing names and shames the officers involved and that spying on trade unionists is also examined.
The calls came as Home Secretary Theresa May outlined the remit for the public inquiry to be headed by Lord Justice Pitchford.
Ms May announced the inquiry last year after the extent of spying on justice groups was revealed, including spying on the family of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence.
Doreen Lawrence, Stephen’s mother, called for the inquiry to expose the undercover police officers.
She said: “For far too long, the police have had a mantra of ‘we can do whatever we like.’ That’s what I found after Stephen’s murder.
“They were doing the deception. Why should they be allowed to be anonymous while people like me had their faces all over the newspapers? These people were not innocent. They knew what they were doing.”
It has emerged that the Met’s Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) spied not just on the Lawrence family but on 18 justice campaigns over the course of 35 years.
The SDS has been the focus of intense controversy in recent years over claims that undercover officers had sexual relationships with campaigners and stole the identities of dead children.
The Home Secretary said that the inquiry would “examine the motivation for, and the scope of, undercover police operations in practice and their effect upon individuals in particular and the public in general.”
She added that it would cover “the extent and effect undercover police operations have targeted political and social justice campaigners.”
But concern was expressed that yesterday’s announcement made no specific reference as to whether the inquiry would examine evidence of police monitoring of trade unionists and allegations that they were involved in the blacklisting of construction workers and others.
Speaking in Parliament, Labour MP John McDonnell told Commons Leader Chris Grayling: “Some months ago in this House we revealed the extent to which there was undercover policing surveillance of trade unionists but there’s no explicit reference to trade unionists in the terms of reference, which we expected.”
Blacklist Support Group’s Dave Smith called spying on trade unionists a “human rights abuse that cannot be tolerated — and which Pitchford cannot ignore.”
Ucatt acting general secretary Brian Rye added: “Victims of blacklisting deserve the truth and it is essential that Pitchford provides that opportunity.”