The grindingly slow Undercover Policing Inquiry looks set to release four more spycops’ cover names following comments from chairman John Mitting — which comes as accusations grow that the Met is succeeding in neutering the inquiry.
Mitting, who has himself been heavily criticised over his police links since taking over the inquiry from Pitchford earlier this year, has thus far leaned heavily in favour of keeping former members of the disgraced Special Demonstration Squad and the National Public Order Intelligence Unit anonymous. This effectively protects them from having to justify their actions, which in some cases include starting relationships with activists while infiltrating peaceful protest groups and even siring children.
Despite around 120 officers’ names still being on the list for decision, Mitting’s only approved releases thus far relate to police activities in the 1970s against groups such as Black Flame — the last officer cover name released earlier this month was of that of 1960s spycop Bill Lewis. More recently active officers who could still face consequences for their actions have not as yet been named unless already effectively outed by activists.
In the face of a total lack of evidence that its former spies would face any violent reprisals, the Met has consistently attempted to paint the release of aliases and real names as potentially dangerous to its personnel.
In one particularly bizarre citation it said a campaign exposing the behaviour of university professor Bob Lambert amounted to evidence of “harassment.” Lambert, who manipulated an activist into a relationship while undercover, fathered a child and then disappeared, was a lecturer responsible for the wellbeing of young students at the time.