30 Aug 2018

The Undercover Policing Inquiry has today published a consultation on the practicalities of running its upcoming evidence hearings.

The Inquiry, chaired by former High Court Judge Sir John Mitting, is set to hear evidence from key witnesses from 2019 as it seeks to find out the truth about undercover policing in England and Wales over the past 50 years.

To make sure that these hearings are as effective as possible, the Inquiry is now seeking views on issues around how they should be run.

So, in a one month open public consultation, the Inquiry invites interested individuals and groups to share views on the publication of evidential documents post hearing, how to ensure it receives best oral evidence, what support packages witnesses should be offered, and whether live streaming of evidence is appropriate.

Consulting on evidence hearings

In 2015 the then Home Secretary, Theresa May, announced her intention to establish an Inquiry into undercover policing. Its purpose: to report on how undercover police operations have been conducted by English and Welsh police forces in England and Wales since 1968.

Ahead of the Inquiry’s evidence hearing sessions, the Inquiry is seeking the views of interested groups as it looks to develop its Hearings Protocol.

The consultation asks five specific questions:

  • how and when evidence should be posted on the inquiry website.
  • how best to facilitate witnesses giving their evidence.
  • the level of support that witnesses in the Inquiry would wish to receive when giving evidence, and methods by which this may be provided.
  • whether or not providing a small number of rooms for use by attendees other than witnesses would be needed.
  • views on live streaming from potential witnesses and those wishing to have access to the proceedings.

The consultation will run until 12pm on Friday 28 September 2018.

Responses can be made via email (info@upci.org.uk) or post (PO Box 71230, London NW1W 7QH).

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.

ENDS

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 press officer, Jo Coles:

Email: press.queries@ucpi.org.uk