Endemic police corruption and cover-ups of evidence are generally more associated with developing countries, or countries where there is a dictatorship, but in Britain such corruption is rife though handled far better, with the occasional public inquiry as a sop to satisfy a gullible or politically-weary populace. Some of these inquiries have been judge-led; others have been restricted and headed by senior police officers who are expert at hiding the truth. The litany of cover-ups is immense – Birmingham 6, Guildford 4, Hillsborough, Orgreave, the Stephen Lawrence murder, the VIP paedophile allegations, the Kincora/MI5/6 allegations, the Omagh bombing, the Finucane murder, and, of course, the”spycops” scandal. There were many, many more cover-ups. Put simply, it’s all about closing ranks, mutual protection (by police of police) and the ongoing political policing of those individuals and groups who are opposed to the ruling establishment. Multiple police constabularies colluded in cover-ups because multiple police constabularies were involved in the undercover operations – see for example evidence below that Thames Valley was core to Kennedy’s surveillance on the Ratcliffe op…
In January 2013, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Patricia Gallan told MPs, sitting as part of a Home Affairs Committee (HAC):
“Operation Herne, as you will be aware, has been running for some time. Initially it quite properly concentrated on potentially criminal matters, whether there may be any miscarriages of justice or not, and indeed in criminal allegations. One of those allegations, as you will be aware, was made in Parliament by an MP, and that is being investigated. Since the Olympics we have been able to put additional resources into Operation Herne, but I must stress we are looking at the activities of a unit, the Special Demonstration Squad, which was initially funded by the Home Office and set up in 1968 and ran for 40 years. There is not a dusty file sitting somewhere within Scotland Yard that we can pull out that will provide all of the answers. There are more than 50,000 documents, paper and electronic, that we need to sift through. Many people have been long retired and need to be visited, and we need to look at all the records. What I should say is that if anybody has any information or evidence they can give to us, we do want to hear from them.”
She later added: “Many of them [documents] have been classified as secret, so we have had to put in a special IT system specifically to manage it. There has been a huge quantity of documentation, because it goes back over 40 years.”
These were astounding statements made by Gallan – the complete interrogation is here – who clearly slipped up.
A few days after her disasterous interrogation, Gallan was removed from Operation Herne by Met Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe (whose controversial and prolific profile includes Hillsborough, miners strike, Liverpool paedophile cover-up, HMIC review into undercover policing, Stephen Lawrence inquiry, etc). Note: from 2006 to 2012 Gallan was the Chair of the ACPO National Undercover Working Group and was also part of the inquiry (cover-up?) into allegations of paedophilia against Leon Brittan.
Hogan-Howe replaced Gallan with the more reliable (i.e. better at PR) Chief Constable Mick Creedon of Derbyshire Police. In an article by Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance, Creedon’s role in helping to stage-manage Herne is summarised thus:
“When spycops were active, they had to be authorised by a senior officer from the constabulary they were in, as well as their bosses at the Met. More than one of the exposed undercover officers was in Derbyshire; Mark Kennedy was there many times. We know from leaked papers of Kennedy’s deployments in North Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire that the proper protocol of these authorisations was meticulously adhered to. As Derbyshire’s Assistant Chief Constable (Operations), Mick Creedon will have been briefed on these deployments and he will have personally authorised them to go ahead. It’s quite possible that Operation Herne [see parts 1, 2 and 3 – part 4 is restricted] has custody of documents authorising Kennedy’s abuses and bearing Creedon’s signature, unless they too have been deliberately lost or destroyed.” .
Or as an article in The Ferret (published in tandem with Undercover Research) put it: Creedon was unfit to head the Herne Inquiry given his position in overseeing undercover operations, including those of ubiquitous spycop Mark Kennedy.
Back to missing files…
In the 2015 Taylor Review regarding the links between the Home Office and the Special Demonstration Squad, Taylor stated: “…My conclusion is that the key file which contains the evidence of Home Office interaction in relation to the SDS from 1968 to 2008 probably no longer exists and there is no record of what happened to it. It is known that this file would have included documents classified as Secret and Top Secret. The absence of any record of the file or the known reference number in Departmental systems is a concern and it is not possible to conclude whether this is human error or deliberate concealment.”
The I.D. of the ‘key file’ Taylor referred to is, we can reveal, reference QPE 66 1/8/5.
Mark Ellison, in his review of the Stephen Lawrence murder, described the mass shredding of documents by police. And earlier this year, whistleblower Sgt David William, who worked in the Met’s ‘domestic extremism’ unit, alleged that incriminating files on alleged ‘extremists’ had been destroyed.
Nor should we forget the role of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in colluding in cover-ups… For example, the six who were charged re the planned Ratcliffe power station action asked to see undisclosed evidence but, rather than hand that over, prosecutors dropped the charges against them. Indeed the CPS ensured that UCO Mark Kennedy’s evidence was kept from court. (Though the CPS claimed that the charges were dropped not because of Kennedy but because of other evidence, which the CPS refused to reveal). It also transpired that Kennedy had recorded a meeting that exonerated the six, but which the prosecutors and police withheld from the defence (perhaps this was the evidence that the CPS refused to reveal?). The Guardian later commented: “it was the Crown Prosecution Service rather than the police that withheld the tapes [evidence].”
Moreover, the Independent Police Complaints Commission confirmed that the CPS (via prosecutors Ian Cunningham and Nick Paul) had access to all of Mark Kennedy’s undercover files before the trial of those charged. The report also provided evidence that the CPS knew about the activists’ plan not only before it happened but before many of the activists themselves. Furthermore, Felicity Gerry, the prosecutor in the trial of the 20 activists, had been informed about the existence of a UCO and had known Mark Kennedy’s true identity a week before any of the activists did. And so, for the six weeks before the trial, and every second she was in court, Ms. Gerry knew that a police officer had filed evidence on the case that the defence were unaware of – yet she failed to mention this to the court.
Incidentally, the audio device used by Kennedy to record his reports to his superiors was a modified £7,000 Casio G-Shock watch. According to a Guardian article “Kennedy’s draft witness statement was apparently not handed to prosecutors, but instead placed in a Nottinghamshire police safe. But, according to the documents, the material did include DVDs with intelligence listed as “a list of telephone calls” and the crucial “transcript of the recording” made on his watch, referred to by the code “130409/MARK”.”
The extract (image) below is from the same documents that were locked in the Nottinghanmshire Constabulary police safe. (Note that the Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police at the time of Operation Pegasus was Sara Thornton.)
Covering up wrong-doings (and destroying evidence) is not only rife and endemic across police forces in the UK – and within the political and legal establishment – with regard to undercover political policing, but it has been shown to be routinely normal when it comes to any major scandal involving the police. Here are just a few examples…
1. Guildford Four and Maguire Seven: alibi evidence proving none of those convicted could have planted the bomb or were involved in other ways was discovered by solicitor Gareth Peirce when combing through MPS files witheld from trials. The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Lane, said that the police had either “completely fabricated the typed notes, amending them to make them look more effective, and then creating hand-written notes to give the appearance of contemporaneous notes”; or “started off with contemporaneous notes, typed them up to make them more legible, amended them to make them read better, and then converted them back to hand-written notes.” Either way, the police had lied. The conclusion was that, if they had lied about this, their entire evidence was suspect. The convictions were overturned and the Guildford Four were released in 1989 and the Maguire Seven not long after;
2. Birmingham Six: police later admitted this was a fit-up; more recently it has been shown that West Midlands police were warned about the bombing a week in advance but did nothing and that they hid details of a third bomb that didn’t go off and which would have proved the six were innocent;
3. Hillsborough: the recent inquest conclusion was damning, stating that the incomptency of the police was equal to unlawful killing of the 96 victims;
4. Miners Strike (in particular, Orgreave): an inquiry into the policing of Orgreave (and the miners strike in general) is well overdue given South Yorkshire police colluded on their fabrication of evidence;
5. The Omagh bombing and the Pat Finucane murder police: police collusion in both cases is well documented;
6. Stephen Lawrence murder: inquiries showed police colluded in massive cover-up;
7. Westminster/VIP child sex abuse allegation: here are the 114 missing files (presumed destroyed) relating to this scandal and which were first exposed by Undercoverinfo;
8. Kincora child sex abuse: the full truth of the cover-up of this, together with Operation ‘Clockwork Orange’, has yet to be revealed;
9. Daniel Morgan murder and cover-up; ongoing campaign to reveal the truth;
10. Spycops operations: for a selection of articles covering the many aspects of this scandal, click here.
And the list goes on…
In the meantime the Pitchford Inquiry into undercover policing will also be guilty of massive cover-up unless:
- all the so-called ‘missing’ – i.e. witheld – files pertaining to undercover political policing are produced unredacted;
- the inquiry be extended to cover undercover political policing for the whole of UK – not just England and Wales but Scotland and N Ireland – as well as those countries where UK spycops were operational;
- all the fake names used by undercover political police are revealed so that those persons who were duped into having relationships with UCOs are suitably inforned;
- all the parents of dead children whose names were used by UCOs are provided the details (and an apology)
Lastly, that every police officer, right to the very top, who supervised or authorised undercover political policing is identified, interrogated and prosecuted.