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Police spies in dirty tricks campaign against Stephen Lawrence's family

(51 Posts)
edam Mon 24-Jun-13 16:51:15

A police officer says he was ordered to go undercover and gain the trust of the Lawrence family, while they were fighting for justice after an incompetent/corrupt investigation into their sons's murder, in order to discredit them.

AND this dirty tricks campaign - which came to nothing, obviously - the Lawrences were just a grieving family who had been terribly let down by racist/corrupt cops - was never disclosed to the McPherson inquiry.

So the Met has lied for decades, not only to the family, but also to a judicial inquiry. And, incidentally, behaved as if finding out someone had been on a demo was somehow wrong and discreditable. Instead of, you know, something we are all entitled to do in a democracy...

Just when you think the Met can't get any lower... Absolutely despicable. And a complete waste of time and money, to boot.

Met's response is basically an admission that yes, they did this.

YoniMatopoeia Mon 24-Jun-13 16:53:46

I personally have no words for how abhorrent this is.

Quangle Mon 24-Jun-13 17:04:36

It's absolutely astonishing. Maybe I'm naïve for having thought that we lived in a democracy where the police serve us.

The Macpherson report showed up some awful errors and wilful failures but I saw them as institutionalised ignorance and failure to do the job properly - not utter corruption and perversion of everything we think the police should be. This makes me question everything. How must the Lawrences be feeling? A son is stolen from you and the people who should help you turn against you and treat you like villains.

hackmum Mon 24-Jun-13 17:16:17

Agree with everyone else. Utterly, unbelievably shocking.

edam Mon 24-Jun-13 17:28:41

I imagine it's even more horrific for the family as the Met had gained their trust again with the successful prosecution of a few of the murderers last year. And then they find this...

It's far from an isolated case of undercover operations being completely ridiculous. Turns out cops have been shagging women, fathering babies, stealing the identity of dead babies and fitting people up - we've been charged millions of pounds for the cops to act as agents provocateurs, harassing perfectly innocent environmental campaigners and causing the collapse of trials. And still even after they'd been caught out and set up an investigation into it, they still didn't admit what they'd been up to.

Then you've got Warboys and other serial rapists being allowed to carry on attacking women because the rape units hated rape victims... and deaths in police custody... yeah, right, Smiley Culture just happened to stab himself in the chest while making a cup of tea. hmm

God knows how to clean up these Augean stables but it seems someone needs to point out they serve us, not the other way round. And we live in a democracy where you are allowed to be left-wing or green or campaign against racism.

motherinferior Mon 24-Jun-13 17:29:47

I am actually trying to work out how many activists I knew in myg activist past were in fact double agents...

edam Mon 24-Jun-13 17:31:37

How many did you become very close friends with, MI? grin If it's more than, say, three, you may have inadvertently shagged a copper...

OneStepCloser Mon 24-Jun-13 17:33:39

I`m not suprised by this, and hope it wont be `swept under the carpet`

motherinferior Mon 24-Jun-13 17:34:22

I do have my suspicions of one or two....

ParsingFancy Mon 24-Jun-13 17:34:27

Saw this first thing and my jaw is still scraping the floor.

Like the Lawrences haven't been through enough.

ttosca Mon 24-Jun-13 18:49:21

I'm not surprised at all.

Deaths in police custody since 1998: 333; officers convicted: none

IPCC study finds failure in care of vulnerable prisoners – and says juries are unwilling to convict police officers

Chipstick10 Mon 24-Jun-13 19:08:00

I remember reading a forum where someone commented re the Andrew Mitchell debarkel that it won't be funny once the police do it to the little man. Well they have. They were attempting to smear a grieving family. Disgusting.

Itsjustafleshwound Mon 24-Jun-13 19:15:16

The thing that bugs me the most about this is the timing. Why?

It is a bloody awful thing to do to a family that is grieving.

I have such an issue with the word 'forced' - has the same whiny excuse taste that the German guards used to justifying their atrocious actions. There is a word in English - it is 'NO'

edam Mon 24-Jun-13 19:30:08

I see the then Met Commissioner, Paul Stephenson, has already denied all knowledge. It's not like the police is a uniformed force where people obey their superiors, is it? hmm Or like this is a one-off...

Chipstick, that's what was so funny about the Mitchell affair, all this faux outrage from Tory politicians at the idea that the police could tell brazen lies. It's OK when they do it to the Lawrences, or the family of Jean Charles de Menezes, or Ian Tomlinson, or Smiley Culture, or demonstrators, or the families of people who have died in police custody... they just couldn't cope with the fact it was done to them.

(I say Tory because Labour know they've been spied on - Jack Straw and David Blunkett being amongst the targets. Because clearly being President of the National Union of Students made you a threat to society sufficient to justify wasting police resources on you, in Straw's case - it's not like there was real, IRA, terrorism going on at the time...)

ttosca Mon 24-Jun-13 22:11:22

It gets better:

Scotland Yard spied on critics of police corruption

Exclusive: undercover officers in Special Demonstration Squad targeted political campaigns against Metropolitan police

Scotland Yard deployed undercover officers in political groups that sought to uncover corruption in the Metropolitan police and campaigned for justice for people who had died in custody, the Guardian can reveal.

hackmum Tue 25-Jun-13 09:09:03

edam - at the weekend my DP and I were having a discussion about the fact that an undercover policeman had co-written the McLibel leaflet, and I said, Why were they infiltrating innocuous environmental groups like London Greenpeace when they could have infiltrated the IRA? And he said, "Well, it was probably safer."

There is a certain skewed logic to it...

ParsingFancy Tue 25-Jun-13 10:39:18

I'm watching this on catch-up and have to keep stopping to retrieve said dangling jaw.

So the Special Demonstrations Squad devoted years of officers' lives to pretending to be activitists, from anti-racists to environmentalists, to find out what sort and size of demonstrations there were likely to be?

Full-time salaries, people spending 6 out of 7 days a week for years out of contact with their spouses and children? More children born into fake relationships?

To reduce possible public order offences? Uh, right.

BarbarianMum Tue 25-Jun-13 10:40:33

<<The thing that bugs me the most about this is the timing. Why?>>

I think they were looking for leaverage to discredit them and shut them up. You know, for objecting to and highlighting the disgusting, prejudiced and incompetant way their son's murder was bungled handled.

That poor family sad. Every time anything is revealled about this case it's a new low.

ParsingFancy Tue 25-Jun-13 10:47:29

TBF, there were people who infiltrated the IRA. But I think they were military, not from the Met...

edam Tue 25-Jun-13 16:42:33

grin hackmum

yy parsing, WTF? Someone should tell the taxpayer's alliance, they are usually in the paper muttering about waste of public money...

RikeBider Tue 25-Jun-13 16:51:04

The amount of money spent on this is just astounding. Didn't Mark Kennedy alone reckon £250,000 a year was spent on him? And there have probably been 100 uncover officers since the 80s, if not more.

The police spies provided so many vans, equipment, money, expertise and even propaganda to activist groups it makes me wonder now if all these protest movements were entirely police-driven. Just creating jobs for themselves? What would have happened to these groups if they didn't have police spies organising so much activity?

I am also finding it almost unbelievable hmm the number of senior policeman who has had NO idea what was going on, NEVER knew about any of this and are SHOCKED by it all, over about 30 years. Is there anyone in charge at all?

StainlessSteelBegonia Thu 06-Mar-14 21:19:49

So the report is out today: it's true. All of it. Theresa May has ordered a judicial inquiry.


meditrina Thu 06-Mar-14 21:35:37

The criminal enquiry has to be concluded first (otherwise it will be impossibe to charge anyine) then there will be a judicial review.

The SDS has been around since the late 1970s, and I hope there have been well run operations (for I do agree that undercover work may be necessary; the problem seems to be with unclear tasking and insufficient operational oversight). One officer in particular was named today by May as involved in corruption - so she must be pretty sure of at least some of what has been happening, and I thought both she and Cooper were on the same wavelength about this, and nth disgusted by it all.

By chance, I've just been reading "Undercover: The True Story of Britain's Secret Police" by Paul Lewis and Rob Evans. It's only a partial picture (I've no real sense of how SDS was meant to be tasked and monitored, nor how clearance for operations was given, articulately pre-RIPA) but even aiming off for that, still a disturbing one.

Quangle Thu 06-Mar-14 22:11:23


Just saw Neville Lawrence on the news - looking utterly defeated by the realisation that they have had lies and betrayal heaped onto their horrific loss.

meditrina Thu 06-Mar-14 22:13:08

Here's today's article on BBc website about this

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