29 May 2020
The Undercover Policing Inquiry has announced, in a statement by the Chairman, its intention to start hearings on Monday 2 November 2020. The November hearings will be virtual and conducted remotely due to the expectation that social distancing measures will still be in place at this time.
The hearings will start with opening statements. Those given live will be live-streamed on the Inquiry website with a five-minute delay. Recorded and written opening statements will also be published on the Inquiry website.
The evidence hearings will follow. The first evidence hearings focus on officers and managers active in the Special Demonstration Squad between 1968 and 1982 and those affected by the officers’ deployments. The opening statements and first evidence hearings will last for around three weeks in November 2020, with the latter continuing in early 2021.
The Chairman has proposed that the open oral evidence of witnesses is viewed and heard in real-time by the Chairman, Counsel to the Inquiry and the recognised legal representative of the witness. Core participants with a direct interest in the evidence given would also be able to hear it in real-time. Views are sought on an additional arrangement whereby a small audience could view a time-delayed stream of proceedings at an Inquiry venue.
An audio recording will be made of the oral evidence and, once checked to ensure that it contains nothing which should not be broadcast, will be uploaded onto the Inquiry website alongside a transcript.
These arrangements are intended to obtain the best evidence from witnesses and to ensure that real name restriction orders are not undermined while allowing as many people as possible to hear the evidence. The arrangements are not intended to be a template for future tranches.
Views about the proposals in the Chairman’s statement are invited from core participants and the media. Any written representations must be made by 26 June 2020. A final statement on the conduct of the hearings will be made in the week commencing 20 July 2020.
The Inquiry’s first evidence hearings were previously expected to start in June 2020 but had to be postponed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
NOTES TO EDITORS
Further background to the Inquiry can be found on the Inquiry website.
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.
For further information, please contact the Inquiry’s communications team:
Tel: 07585 908612