SpyCops – Update
There follows a press release issued today by the SpyCops Campaign, following on a decision by the Court of Session on the scope of the Undercover Policing Inquiry.
We share the view that this represents a missed and wasted opportunity, and we continue to support Tilly Gifford and the Campaign.
The Court of Session have today, Wednesday 21st November 2018, ruled in the case brought by Tilly Gifford against the UK and Scottish governments. The challenge was to the decisions of the UK and Scottish government not to extend the Undercover Policing Inquiry north of the Border. This in our view is a mistake.
The Judicial Review was brought by Tilly Gifford, an activist who was herself targeted by the police for surveillance.
As part of their case, the claimant’s representatives submitted to the court an independent report on Undercover Political Policing in Scotland. This report documents the extensive interference and surveillance, over many decades and in many reputable and admirable campaigns and movements including trade unions.
We are surprised that the Court does not accept the scale and extent of undercover political policing in Scotland and the need for the UK and Scottish governments to provide for a public inquiry north of the border.
We call for a proper inquiry in Scotland, following the recommendations of the victims.
Following the outcome of the Judicial Review, an alliance of people and groups affected by these issues in Scotland will now work together to campaign for a public inquiry in Scotland. This alliance includes blacklisted construction workers, people working with unions, miners from the strikes in the 1980s, environmental and social justice campaigners.
Despite the decision of the Court we call on the Scottish government to do the right thing and to order a public inquiry.
In particular, we call for the Public Inquiry in Scotland to:
– Appoint an independent Judge with a panel of experts with relevant life – and campaigning experience.
– For the cover names of officers to be released – for our files to be released.
– For an investigation into senior management and senior civil servants who authorised these undemocratic activities.
Why Scotland should have its own Independent Public Inquiry
It has been a long three year struggle to get to this point today. We have had to crowd-fund, collecting from the general public who see the importance of an Inquiry.
We have worked with a pro-bono legal team, as this is a matter of human rights abuses. Victims of police spying in Scotland have travelled to meet the previous Minister for Justice and campaigned relentlessly to have these issues heard, as we need proper safeguards in place to protect future generations from this abusive interference from the state.
We will support Tilly Gifford as she considers with her legal team appealing this decision.
Neil Findlay, Labour MSP said:
“I am deeply disappointed in this decision. How can it be fair that victims of unethical and illegal undercover policing in England and Wales will get access to an inquiry but Scottish victims won’t. This is unjust and wrong.”
Tilly Gifford, who brought the case said:
“This is a massively disappointing decision by the Court. Our evidence is clear and sound – there has been undercover policing in Scotland, and it needs to be investigated by an independent transparent public inquiry, not just for my sake but for the blacklisted builders, the campaigns, political parties and organisations striving for social justice who have been spied upon.”
‘Andrea’ from Police Spies Out of Lives said:
“Undercover political policing in Scotland is a fact. Whilst we can expect the cowardice of the politicians in failing to call for a public inquiry into undercover political policing in Scotland, I had hoped that the Court would see that a failure to extend the public inquiry to Scotland was clearly unlawful.”
For more information contact:
Tilly Gifford 07717887221
Paul Heron, Public Interest Law Centre 07747857172
Leonna O’Neill Scottish Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance 07851699542