23 May 2021
From Wednesday 21 April to Thursday 13 May, the Undercover Policing Inquiry held its Tranche 1 (Phase 2) opening statements and evidence hearings. As with the Inquiry’s hearings in November 2020, the hearings were virtual and conducted remotely due to restrictions in place as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
All evidence and corresponding open ground schedules related to the hearings, which amounts to around 2,000 files, have now been published on the ‘Published evidence’ page of the Inquiry website. These files bring the total number of evidential documents published by the Inquiry to nearly 3,000.
Recordings of the oral opening statements, oral evidence from civilian witnesses and readouts of evidence summaries can be found on the respective hearing day pages, where you can also find transcripts and other associated documents.
Phase 2 of Tranche 1 covered Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) undercover policing operations that started between 1970 and 1979. In total, there were three days of opening statement hearings and 13 days of evidence hearings.
Twelve separate oral opening statements specific to the phase were made, including a statement from David Barr QC Counsel to the Inquiry. Oral statements were streamed – in real-time – on YouTube.
Nineteen witnesses gave oral evidence: nine civilian witnesses, eight former SDS undercover police officers (UCOs) and two risk assessors of the UCO HN 155 (“Phil Cooper”). Eleven other witnesses either had summaries of their evidence or their written statements read out. The full list of officers included in Phase 2 of Tranche 1 can be found in the relevant press notice.
The evidence hearings were live-streamed to a bespoke screening venue in Central London, open to core participants and their legal representatives, media representatives, and the general public. Proceedings could also be followed remotely. The oral evidence of eight of the nine civilian witnesses was live-streamed on YouTube with a 10-minute delay, as were the evidence summaries. For the rest of the oral evidence, there was an audio feed available via a Zoom webinar and a rolling transcript on YouTube – both with a 10-minute delay.
Transcripts were published shortly after the morning and afternoon sessions. All documents associated with each witness were published just before the witness began their oral evidence or their evidence summaries were read out. Daily indices were published throughout the evidence hearings, listing all evidential materials associated with the day’s witnesses. You can find the indices on the ‘Published evidence’ page.
The Tranche 1 (Phase 3) evidence hearings are due to start in the first half of 2022 after being moved from October 2021. In this set of hearings, the Inquiry will primarily hear from SDS managers (1968-1982). A new date for the hearings will be announced before July 2021.