*Press Release – Scotland, Surveillance and Spycops – Conference on 23 June 2018*
What is the Undercover Policing Inquiry?
In March 2015, Theresa May announced a Public Inquiry into undercover policing. This announcement followed revelations that police undercovers, from 1968 to date, spied on political campaigners, often using the names of dead children to create their identities.
The officers, part of the ‘National Public Order Intelligence Unit’ (NPOIU) and Metropolitan Police Service’s ‘Special Demonstration Squad’ (SDS), deceived women into long-term intimate relationships and fathered children with them. They also befriended grieving families through justice campaigns, and have acted as agents provocateurs. They were involved in helping to blacklist construction workers, and de-railing legitimate protest movements.
However, the current Undercover Policing Inquiry is limited to England and Wales. This despite the fact that we are aware that undercover political policing occurred on Scottish soil. But for those activists spied on in Scotland there is no public inquiry north of the border.
Conference in Glasgow – Scotland, Surveillance and Spy-cops
In year 2016, Tilly Gifford, a social justice activist, brought a case to challenge the UK government for their failure to extend the Inquiry north of the border, and in addition the failure of the Scottish government to organize its own independent public inquiry.
In September 2017, Edinburgh’s Court of Session agreed to grant permission for a full Judicial Review hearing to take place. The case brought is important. The full hearing is due to be heard on the 19-20th July 2018.
This legal victory needs the support of a campaign to force the UK government and the Scottish government to concede to a proper inquiry. Truth and justice are demanded by trade unionists, environmentalists, women activists, blacklisted workers, and social justice campaigners.
To get this campaign started, we have organized a conference to take place on 23 June 2018, with speakers exposing political policing in Scotland and informing people of the latest developments.
Time: 11am to 5pm
Venue: Pearce Institute, Govan, Glasgow
For more information about the conference please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Speaking from their own experiences of Police injustices are Andrea (activist deceived into long term relationship by undercover police officer), Ellenor Hutson (Blacklist Support Group), Pat Egan (1984/85 Miners’ Strike), Billy Mcallister (Chair of NorthWest Community Alliance) and Paul McLaughlin (Miscarriages of Justice Organisation), Dave Semple (Trade Unionist), Eveline Lubbers (Undercover Research Group) and Neil Findlay (MSP).
Andrea, Scottish activist deceived into a long-term relationship by SDS officer Carlo Neri said:
“I was appalled when I read the HMCIS report into undercover policing in Scotland. As a Scottish activist whose life was seriously infiltrated and disrupted by the corrupt SDS spycops unit I expected my country to offer some hope of truth and a willingness to pursue justice. Carlo and I spent a significant amount of time together in Scotland. My family and friends trusted him and accepted him fully into their lives. On occasion, our trips north were entirely at his behest. I want to know why he was so interested in Scotland and I want to know what information is held on me and my family. We deserve to know the truth.”
Neil Findlay MSP, and a leading voice in demanding a public inquiry said:
“Everyone now knows that there was illegal and unethical surveillance of activists whose only crime was to campaign to protect their jobs, save the environment from climate change or end global injustice. Yet Scottish victims, some of whom were duped into relationships with undercover officers, are the only people on the mainland UK with no access to justice having been prevented from taking part in the inquiry in England and Wales and there being no parallel inquiry in Scotland. This is a completely unacceptable situation and utterly unjust.”
Tilly Gifford, environmental justice campaigner, Claimant in the Legal Challenge has said:
“It seems crazy that whilst social justice activists, trade unionists and campaigners in England and Wales can seek justice at a public inquiry, their compatriots in Scotland have no such vehicle. This Judicial Review is an important vehicle in seeking justice, and equally important is a united campaign to ensure that any future public inquiry north of the border is open, democratic and transparent.”