The Undercover Policing Inquiry (UCPI) today published its first report, which contains damning conclusions about the ‘spycops’ unit within the Metropolitan Police, the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS).
Sir John Mitting, Chair of the UCPI, concluded that the secret long-term infiltrations of protest and political movements by SDS undercover policemen were not justified and that, had they been known by the public at the time, in the 1970s, “the SDS would have been brought to a rapid end”. He found that the Home Office and Metropolitan Police should have considered whether the intrusion into people’s private lives, and trespass into their homes was justified and had they done so “it is hard to see how any conclusion could legitimately have been reached which would not have resulted in the closure of the SDS.” Instead the SDS continued to operate for 40 years until 2008.
Sir John also found that there was a ‘perennial’ practice of undercover officers having sexual relationships with women they spied on, and that the practice was common knowledge amongst many undercover officers.
The Undercover Policing Inquiry Tranche 1 Interim Report may be found here.