The Metropolitan Police have applied [pdf] to the Undercover Policing Inquiry for more time to prepare their applications for anonymity for their officers. And the Met are further questioning whether all of its officers will have to give evidence.
It is now looking as though the inquiry may not start hearing evidence in 2017. And it’s already been 18 months since its launch.
Meanwhile, there’s another side to this story. The story of those spied on. The story of those still waiting for justice.
A personal view
I am a Core Participant in the Undercover Policing Inquiry. Basically, this means I’m an interested party with evidence to provide. I was spied on by at least five undercover police officers that I know of for my involvement in social justice movements. But there were probably more.
But I’m one of the lucky ones. I didn’t have a sexual relationship with any of the officers I knew. And the pain I feel will never be the same as those who did. But I did have close personal friendships. And some of them met my family, knew my son, and were a large part of my life.
People lie and cheat all the time. But it’s not the same. It’s not the same as having a friend, let alone a partner, paid to spy on you. And alongside the feelings of betrayal is the knowledge that your words, actions, and family life have been twisted and recorded in state files.
And it’s a pain. A constant sickness that, despite the passing of years, doesn’t go away.
Neither confirm nor deny
Ever since the allegations of undercover police emerged, the police adopted a stance of neither confirming nor denying whether an officer was an undercover officer. Even when presented with overwhelming evidence and issuing apologies, they refused to confirm their existence.
But now, through the inquiry, we’re slowly being drip fed names. It’s a torturous process for those of us involved. In fact, it’s become a bit of a personal obsession. Every day, I refresh the communications page at least a couple of times, to see if one of my old friends has finally been confirmed as an undercover officer.
Meanwhile, the police have been busy destroying records related to undercover policing operations. And one consultant to the Council of Europe on human rights law has said this may equate to a perversion of the course of justice.
This latest application [pdf] for more time by the Met Police is a disgrace. They’ve already had 18 months. We were spied on because we believe in a better world. And because sometimes that better world is opposed to state and corporate interests.
It’s time we are given the justice of knowing who spied on us. No more excuses. Release the cover names and let us see the information these intruders in our lives collated on us. It’s the least we deserve.
– Support the Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance.
Featured image via Mae Benedict