4 Dec 2017
The Inquiry is today launching a consultation on proposed changes to the way it publishes documents provided in support of anonymity applications for former members of the Special Demonstration Squad.
The consultation follows the Chairman’s 20 November 2017 statement where he said that he would consult on a proposal to change the process of applying for and determining anonymity applications.
The consultation proposal is aimed at speeding up the Inquiry’s progress by changing what information is put in the public domain and when. The intention is to move to an approach which is more closely tailored to the type of application that is being made. This will enable more resources to be allocated to the Inquiry’s substantive investigation by avoiding wasting time preparing for publication material which is of little practical use for the purposes of the anonymity process.
The proposed process
The proposal would mean that where publication of a real name is the only question for decision, the Inquiry would publish the application but would not ordinarily publish the supporting evidence. An open version of the supporting evidence would only be prepared and published in relation to factual circumstances of a kind which have not been considered by the Inquiry to date.
Where publication of both an undercover police officer’s real and cover names falls to be decided, and the Chairman is minded to grant the application to restrict, then under the proposal the Inquiry would ordinarily publish the application and a gist of the supporting evidence so that those with an interest in the outcome of the application can participate by making submissions.
Where the Chairman is minded to publish a cover name, the Inquiry would give the officer an opportunity to make submissions at a closed hearing and would not prepare the material supplied in support of the application for publication should the Chairman decide, after hearing from the officer, to refuse the application and release the cover name.
If adopted, the amended process would apply to all anonymity applications by Special Demonstration Squad officers appearing in the tranches after the August 2017 tranche.
Responses are sought in writing from the Inquiry’s core participants, other anonymity applicants and the media by 4pm on 11 January 2018.
The purpose of the Undercover Policing Inquiry is to investigate and report on undercover police operations conducted by English and Welsh police forces in England and Wales since 1968. The Inquiry will examine the contribution undercover policing has made to tackling crime, how it was and is supervised and regulated, and its effect on individuals involved – both police officers and others who came into contact with them.
The work of the Inquiry ranges across the full scope of undercover policing work and will look at the work of the Special Demonstration Squad, the National Public Order Intelligence Unit and police forces in England and Wales. The Inquiry will also examine whether people may have been wrongly convicted in cases involving undercover police officers, and refer any such cases to a separate panel for consideration. The work of the Inquiry will fall into three modules:
- Module one will look at what happened in the deployment of undercover officers in the past, their conduct, and the impact of their activities on themselves and others.
- Module two will look at the management and oversight of undercover officers, including their selection, training, supervision and care after the end of an undercover deployment. This section will also look at the law and other rules covering undercover policing.
- Module three will make recommendations about how undercover policing should be conducted in future
NOTES TO EDITORS
- The current process for determining anonymity applications
- Further detail on applications made by the Special Demonstration Squad and the National Public Order Intelligence Unit
- The Chairman’s 20 November 2017 statement
- The Undercover Policing Inquiry is constituted under the Inquiries Act 2005.
- The Inquiry’s terms of reference were announced by the Home Secretary on 16 July 2015.
- The Inquiry’s frequently asked questions document provides more information on the Inquiry more generally, as do published update notes.
- The Inquiry’s website is www.ucpi.org.uk and the Inquiry can be found on Twitter @ucpinquiry
For further information please contact the Inquiry’s press officer, Jo Coles:
Tel: 07827 818 460