Friday 12 May: picket to demand “Release the Cover Names! Tell us who was spied on! Give us our Special Branch files!”

It’s short notice, we know but the Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance (COPS) is calling on anyone spied on by undercover police to support a picket called for this Friday, 12 May The venue for the picket is yet to be confirmed… We will meet outside the Institute of Contemporary Arts, The Mall, St. James’s, London SW1Y 5AH at 11.30, fairly sharpish, as we will move off elsewhere by 11.45.

This picket has been called partly called in response to the latest ruling from the Pitchford Inquiry into Undercover Policing (UCPI). Since the Inquiry was announced, we have repeatedly demanded that we be told the names of the undercover officers who spied on us and the list of campaigns and political groups infiltrated, and that the files the Special Branch and files compiled on us by the police be handed over to us. The Metropolitan Police and other police forces have spent millions
of pounds obstructing any release of information, and so far the Inquiry is allowing this to continue.

Just last week the Chair of the UCPI, Lord Pitchford, following a hearing in April, issued a ruling that again gives the police more time to delay and more leeway to block the release of any substantial information. Some of us have been fighting for 20 years to discover who spied on us and who ordered it. All we face is more obstruction and more waiting; while the police have control of all the information, and have shredded numerous documents.

We say – Enough is Enough! It’s time for the Met and other police forces to halt their attempts to prevent us from learning the truth, and for the Undercover Policing Inquiry to stop letting them getting away with it!’ There will we hope, be another focus for this picket, depending on a probable development regarding undercover policing, which should occur this week… More info to come but we urge anyone to join us as we could hopefully attract some interest and maybe press attention…

Police Spies Out of Lives has produced a summary of Pitchford’s ruling on the issues raised at the hearing on 5 April (see below). It’s quite long and detailed but basically the police were given most of what they asked for. Most importantly, Pitchford said he does not believe they deliberately obstructed the progress of the inquiry in order not to release the cover names of undercover officers, although they have been “incompetent”. In addition, he has allowed them an extension of time in which to process anonymity applications and the inquiry will issue directions on this within 21 days.

Summary of April 5th hearing ruling

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