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