26 Jul 2018

The Inquiry today commenced consultation on a list of issues for its Module One investigation into the National Public Order Intelligence Unit and for a list of issues for its Module One investigation into other undercover policing. The issues lists will inform the investigation of deployments of undercover officers, their conduct, and the impact of their activities on themselves and others.

The National Public Order Intelligence Unit

As part of its Module One investigations into undercover police operations, the Inquiry will hear from individual undercover police officers. In connection with the National Public Order Intelligence Unit, the Inquiry anticipates asking officers about all aspects of undercover service, including their selection, training and management, as well as what they did whilst deployed undercover.

The Inquiry hopes to receive direct evidence from witnesses affected by the actions of the undercover officers to understand fully the impact it had.

The Inquiry will examine the reasons for particular deployments, and specifically whether there may have been racist, sexist or otherwise inappropriate dimensions to decisions made.

The evidence of those who supervised and managed the individual undercover police officers will be received in Module Two. In this way all of the relevant evidence will be taken into account on any given issue: some evidence will be received from witnesses in Module One; more will be received from managers in Module Two.

Other undercover work

The Inquiry has adopted a different, less intensive approach to its investigation of other undercover policing so as to enable the primary focus to remain on the Special Demonstration Squad and the National Public Order Intelligence Unit. The Inquiry has invited self-disclosure by police forces of both the good and the bad which has arisen from all of their other undercover policing operations. The Inquiry is taking steps to verify that the self disclosure has been frank and representative. Individual case studies which appear to merit further investigation are being followed up by the Inquiry team. In relation to those cases, the Inquiry will adopt a more rigorous and intensive approach to investigate fully the reasons why, for example, a particular problem may have arisen in connection with a deployment.

This has proved to be a successful strategy thus far. The Inquiry has received evidence suggestive of very productive undercover police operations that have been instrumental in bringing dangerous criminals to justice as well as evidence giving cause for concern that merits further investigation. Police forces are required to update the Inquiry in relation to these issues on an ongoing basis; indeed the Inquiry has been notified of further relevant examples since the forces submitted their original witness statements. This is work that continues in parallel with the Inquiry’s priority investigations.

The list of issues proposed in respect of this work sets out the framework of matters of interest to the Inquiry in these investigations. Responses to both the consultations are sought in writing by 4pm on Friday 28 September 2018.

It is expected that issues lists for other modules of the Inquiry’s investigative focus will be published in due course. There will be an opportunity later in the Inquiry process for individual core participants to propose further issues relating to specific deployments which directly affected them.

Background

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 Inquiry’s investigations are broken down into modules. The descriptions of modules Two and Three have been amended to spell out more clearly the Inquiry’s investigative intentions.

One

Examination of the deployment of undercover officers in the past, their conduct, and the impact of their activities on themselves and others.

Two

Examination of the management and oversight of undercover officers, including their selection, training, supervision, care after the end of an undercover deployment and the legal and regulatory framework within which undercover policing is carried out. Module Two (a) will involve managers and administrators from within undercover policing units. Module Two (b) will involve senior managers higher in the chain of command as well as police personnel who handled intelligence provided by undercover police officers. Module Two (c) will involve a number of other government bodies with a connection to undercover policing, including the Home Office.

Three

Examination of current undercover policing practices and of how undercover policing should be conducted in future.

 NOTES TO EDITORS

  1. The Undercover Policing Inquiry is constituted under the Inquiries Act 2005
  2. The Inquiry’s terms of reference were announced by the Home Secretary on 16 July 2015
  3. The Inquiry’s Strategic Review was published in May 2018. 
  4. The Inquiry’s Frequently Asked Questions document provides more information on the Inquiry more generally, as do its published update notes
  5. The Inquiry’s website is www.ucpi.orq.uk and the Inquiry can be found on Twitter @ucpinquiry.

For further information please contact the Inquiry’s Head of Communications, Jo Coles:

Email: press.queries@ucpi.org.uk

Tel: 07827 818 460