Secret report confirms Ricky Tomlinson’s allegation that police colluded in blacklisting

Ricky Tomlinson
Tom Coburg

In August 2016, actor Ricky Tomlinson claimed that Special Branch police were involved in blacklisting him and other workers. The Canary has seen a previously unpublished report on such allegations. And its damning conclusions back up Tomlinson’s claim.

The report was dated February 2016, when Theresa May was home secretary, but not published. It was authored by Chief Constable of Derbyshire Mick Creedon (since retired) as part of Operation Reuben, which came under the control of Operation Herne.

The full Reuben report (redacted in parts) is here.

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The report’s very limited remit under Herne focused on whether the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) provided information to blacklisting agencies. While it states that specific allegations relating to the SDS were ‘unproven’ (sections 13.2 to 13.5), the report admits other forms of collusion were proven. For the sake of brevity this article refers only to those “proven” examples. We also provide additional evidence that appears to show a direct link between undercover policing and blacklisting.

Proven collusion

Early on the report makes clear that collusion between the police and blacklisting agencies was ‘proven’.

The report also refers to an allegation of collusion between Gordon Mills, a former Chief Inspector with the now defunct National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit (NETCU), and blacklisting agency the Consulting Association. Specifically, it refers to a handwritten note by Consulting Association manager Ian Kerr about a meeting at which Mills was guest speaker.

But the report does not include the handwritten note itself. A copy of that note was previously published by The Canary and is reproduced here.

Damning conclusion

The Reuben report concludes that police, Special Branch and NETCU were all involved in blacklisting:

In a January 2013 article in The Times, Kerr talked of “dealings” with NETCU and a “key officer”, and also about how the Consulting Association had established links with the “police and security services”.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Reuben report further concluded:

Creedon insider?

Mick Creedon, the author of the report, could be described as an undercover policing insider, in that he oversaw a number of high-profile policing operations of protests in Derbyshire. These included the Earth First summer gathering, the 2005 G8 protests, and the targeting of environmental protests (including infiltration by notorious ‘spycop’ Mark Kennedy).

In a 2013 letter to lawyer Harriet Wistrich, Creedon referred to himself as one of three senior police officers whose role is to set policy in regard to undercover policing.

Withholding evidence

The Reuben report has been concealed from the public since 2015. Nor is it known if it will be made fully available to the Undercover Policing inquiry. If not, this means that the inquiry could be ignoring those findings that proved collusion

However, in March 2018, the Metropolitan Police Service admitted in a letter that collusion had taken place and quoted sections of the Operation Reuben report.

Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell commented at the time:

It is now abundantly clear that various arms of the state including the police colluded in the blacklisting process. This is one of the hidden scandals of the abuse of civil liberties in our country that needs to be recognised fully and addressed.

Blacklisting rife

The GMB union estimated that from October 1999 to April 2004, one company alone – the now-collapsed Carillion – checked at least 14,724 names against files illegally held by the Consulting Association. One such file, seen by The Canary, is for client 3271 (code for Carillion) and accuses Paul (last name redacted) of raising grievances:

Consulting Association file for Carillion

The Canary has seen the Consulting Association’s entire set of ledgers. Part 1 of the June 2000 – November 2003 accounts, for example, shows Carillion paid a fee of £1909.76 for February 2001 alone:

Invoices and sales book records, seized by the Information Commissioner’s Office during a raid in 2009, showed that Carillion paid £37,814.72 to the Consulting Association between 1999 and 2006.

Dave Smith, joint secretary of the Blacklist Support Group, added:

Carillon blacklisted me after I raised concerns about safety on their building sites; it ended up in the European Court of Human Rights. At the very same time the company were milking public sector contracts including in the NHS. Not another penny of taxpayers money should be given to these wretches.

Indeed, over 40 other companies – such as Amec Building Ltd, Bam Nuttall (Edmund Nutall Ltd),  Dudley Bower & Co Ltd and Shepherd Engineering Service – were found to have been Consulting Association subscribers. More than 3,000 construction workers were blacklisted by that agency.

And there’s more

Tens of thousands more were blacklisted by the Economic League, acting on behalf of several hundred companies. Here is an extract from an Economic League card file on a ‘militant’:

Screenshot from 2016-08-09 20:40:11

And here is Ricky Tomlinson’s entry on the list (showing his real name – Eric Tomlinson – and his then address and birth date):

Screenshot from 2016-08-09 05:07:22

Compensation

The Metropolitan Police Service has admitted to collusion in the blacklisting of workers.

More than 40,000 workers may now be justified in seeking redress and financial compensation for the injustices they suffered as a result of blacklisting.

Should a legal firm decide to pursue such claims against either the companies that subscribed to the Economic League blacklists or the police who colluded with the Economic League, then The Canary will provide copies of those blacklists and other internal Economic League documents.

Featured image via Channel 4 News screengrab (video no longer available)

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  • Show Comments
    1. The Ministers encouraging or turning a blind eye to this blacklisting ought to be prosecuted for collusion ? This is unlikely. Carillion was corrupt as hell until it destroyed itself. All these people names should be given an apology at least by the Minister who was involved as the blacklist is burned in a public ceremony, Any further collusion by the government in secret policing for industry is made illegal.
      Its only sensible, and has nothing to do with politics, but human rights.

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