Following on from the Ellison Review into police spying and corruption, the Home Secretary announced a Judge led Public Inquiry into the activities of the secretive spying unit, the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS), based at New Scotland Yard.
It is now confirmed that the SDS spied on family campaigns, peaceful environmentalist and animal rights protest groups. Their activities also included the use of dead children’s identities, unlawful targeting of women activists, which led to intimate relationships, fathering of children, collusion and participating in criminal activities. To date over 50 activists have had their convictions overturned as a result of further revelations and court actions
The Ellison Review also found that important evidence was not disclosed to the Stephen Lawrence Public Inquiry held in 1998. Peter Francis has acknowledged (see video link below) that he should have given evidence to the Lawrence Inquiry and was prevented from doing so by Senior Officers and the threat of the use of the Official Secrets Act against him. Though willing to talk, without authorization from the Home Secretary or the Metropolitan Police, even time Peter Francis speaks, he risks prosecution under the Official Secrets Act.
In the 35 years history of The Monitoring Group, we have never supported an individual police officer who has confessed to spying on our communities and some of the campaigns that we have coordinated and supported. We are doing this because we believe that Peter Francis is genuinely remorseful and committed to righting these wrongs. We believe that rather than hounding Peter Francis, the Metropolitan Police Service should be encouraging and supporting whistleblowers, and allow him to speak about his activities.
In particular, we demand:
- That the Home Secretary and The Chair issues an immediate statement to confirm that the Official Secrets Act will not be used against Peter Francis and any other potential whistle-blowers.
- That the Home Secretary and The Chair guarantee’s that the new `Inquiry will be conducted in an open and transparent manner where all the evidence, including that from Peter Francis and other potential whistleblowers, is heard without hindrance and obstruction.
- That the Home Secretary and The Chair takes immediate steps to ensure that Peter Francis’s credibility, character and safety is not jeopardised at any stage before, during or post the Public Inquiry.