Po­lice Scot­land ad­mits se­cret file on un­der­cover ‘sex spy’ unit does ex­ist

Sunday Herald - - 19.03.17 NEWS -

BY PAUL HUTCHEON

PO­LICE Scot­land has con­firmed that a se­cret file was cre­ated on the ac­tiv­i­ties of a dis­graced un­der­cover “sex spy” unit at the Gle­nea­gles G8 sum­mit. The “in­tel­li­gence brief­ings” on the Na­tional Public Or­der In­tel­li­gence Unit, whose of­fi­cers had sex with the pro­test­ers they spied on, will now be ex­am­ined by a watch­dog as part of its covert polic­ing probe.

Po­lice Scot­land said it would not com­ment on the con­tents of the file.

Two Met-based units – the Spe­cial Demon­stra­tion Squad and the NPOIU – were set up to keep tabs on so-called sub­ver­sives and do­mes­tic ex­trem­ists.

A key strat­egy was to embed un­der­cover of­fi­cers in cam­paign groups, which in­cluded anti-racism or­gan­i­sa­tions, and re­port back to han­dlers.

But some of the tac­tics de­ployed by the units, such as us­ing the iden­ti­ties of dead ba­bies and de­ceiv­ing women into long-term sex­ual re­la­tion­ships be­fore van­ish­ing, have since been ex­posed.

The Pitch­ford In­quiry, set up by Theresa May when she was Home Sec­re­tary, is ex­am­in­ing un­der­cover polic­ing go­ing back decades. Al­though the judicial-led in­ves­ti­ga­tion does not ap­ply to Scot­land, NPOIU ac­tiv­ity took place north of the Bor­der in the run-up to the G8 sum­mit in Scot­land in 2005.

Mark “Stone” was a driver for cam­paign­ers at the G8, but was un­masked as un­der­cover of­fi­cer Mark Kennedy.

He later said in an in­ter­view: “My su­pe­rior of­fi­cer told me on more than one oc­ca­sion, par­tic­u­larly dur­ing the G8 protests in Scot­land in 2005, that in­for­ma­tion I was pro­vid­ing was go­ing di­rectly to Tony Blair’s desk.”

Ahead of the G8, the then Scot­tish Ex­ec­u­tive is­sued a Min­is­te­rial Cer­tifi­cate block­ing the re­lease of in­for­ma­tion con­nected with the sum­mit. The black­out ap­plied to all Scot­tish public author­i­ties, in­clud­ing po­lice forces, health bod­ies and the gov­ern­ment.

How­ever, it can be re­vealed that the SNP gov­ern­ment qui­etly re­voked the cer­tifi­cate in 2010, a de­ci­sion that could re­sult in in­for­ma­tion on the sum­mit be­ing re­leased.

Af­ter be­ing asked by this news­pa­per for the ti­tles of all files pro­duced by on the G8 in 2005, Po­lice Scot­land con­firmed the names of 1,168 files.

Forty-four were cre­ated by the for­mer Fife Con­stab­u­lary, whose patch in­cluded the Gle­nea­gles ho­tel, while 1,124 files were pro­duced by Loth­ian and Borders po­lice. Many of the files are on rou­tine polic­ing mat­ters, but one doc­u­ment is de­scribed as “in­tel­li­gence brief­ings” on the “Na­tional Public Or­der In­tel­li­gence Unit”.

Other files in­clude “stop the war coali­tion – reg­u­la­tory board” and “in­dy­media”, a left-wing web­site at the time.

There was also cor­re­spon­dence with Mark Kennedy was an un­der­cover of­fi­cer at the G8 at Gle­nea­gles, known as Mark Stone the se­cu­rity ser­vices on the “Se­nior Lead­er­ship De­vel­op­ment Pro­gramme”, a fund­ing re­quest for a “spe­cial branch op­er­a­tion” in May 2005, and over a dozen files on the peace­ful Make Poverty His­tory march.

Af­ter the UK Gov­ern­ment re­fused to ex­tend the Pitch­ford In­quiry to Scot­land, Her Majesty’s In­spec­torate of Con­stab­u­lary in Scot­land launched its own re­view of un­der­cover polic­ing.

A spokesper­son for HMICS said: “As part of our scru­tiny, we will re­view the au­tho­ri­sa­tions for un­der­cover de­ploy­ments dur­ing the G8 Sum­mit in Scot­land in July 2005. HMICS are cur­rently en­gaged in this process with the full co-op­er­a­tion of Po­lice Scot­land. With spe­cific re­gard to the in­tel­li­gence file, HMICS will ex­am­ine this file.”

Donal O’Driscoll, a core par­tic­i­pant in the Pitch­ford In­quiry who was spied on in Scot­land, said: “We have long ar­gued that both the SDS and the NPOIU were ac­tive in Scot­land, par­tic­u­larly around the 2005 G8. The ex­is­tence of this file strength­ens our case for a full in­quiry into the ac­tiv­i­ties of spy cops in Scot­land – and ren­ders the ex­clu­sion of Scot­land from the Pitch­ford In­quiry even more in­ex­pli­ca­ble. We con­tinue to have no con­fi­dence in the HMICS re­view,” he added. “How­ever, I’d ex­pect them to at least make the ef­fort to ex­am­ine this and re­lated brief­ings as part of the bare min­i­mum they need to do.”

A Po­lice Scot­land spokesper­son said: “Po­lice Scot­land does not rou­tinely com­ment on covert polic­ing.”

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