A secret report on collusion between police and blacklisters does not give the full picture. Because files that could have been referenced are listed as missing or ‘destroyed’.
The report is a whitewash: an exercise in box-ticking.
The Reuben report, published in February 2016, attempted to clear the main focus of its investigation – the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) – of any involvement in blacklisting. But in a 2015 review into links between the SDS and the Home Office, Stephen Taylor, the author and Audit Commission director, commented:
My conclusion is that the key file which contains the evidence of Home Office interaction in relation to the SDS from 1968 to 2008 probably no longer exists and there is no record of what happened to it. It is known that this file would have included documents classified as Secret and Top Secret.
The “key file” Taylor referred to was QPE 66 1/8, which lists a range of missing or destroyed political policing files, including those from the SDS.
Furthermore, there appears to be no record in the [Home Office] Department of anything related to the SDS during its years of operation from 1968–2008.
And not just the SDS
According to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), multiple undercover police files have been destroyed. Specifically, the IPCC admitted that the Metropolitan Police Service, headed by Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, destroyed a “large number of documents” in 2014. The files related to the National Domestic Extremism and Disorder Intelligence Unit (NDEDIU) or the National Domestic Extremism Unit (NDEU). The NDEDIU was the result of a merger of the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU), the National Domestic Extremism Team (NDET) and the National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit (NETCU).
The IPCC further confirmed:
there is evidence which suggests documents were shredded after the Undercover Policing Inquiry [commenced].
A 2015 document marked “restricted” shows that based on a sample study, 54% of the 84,000 crates of Metropolitan Police Service records held in “deep storage” probably went missing or were misfiled. In his 2014 review of the Stephen Lawrence murder, Mark Ellison QC also described the mass shredding of a “lorry-load” of documents in 2003.
The full truth about political policing in Britain and the apparent sabotage of evidence by police is yet to be fully revealed. And the number of destroyed and missing files makes the Reuben report more notable for what it doesn’t include.
Featured image via screengrab
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