The British police face a major blow over a 700 page report that is considered to have a negative impact on modern policing in the UK. A police spying allegation in has seen the former and discreted Scotland Yard undercover unit, the SDS, condemned in respect of its spying in respect of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence. The activities of the unit may lead to the prosecution of police officers in an inquiry that labelled the spying “wrong headed, inappropriate” and “highly questionable”
Home Secretary Theresa May has announced an inquiry into the goings-on of undercover officers following an independent inquiry into potential corruption and the role of undercover policing in the Lawrence murder inquiry, which found that Scotland Yard planted “a spy in the Lawrence family camp” – whose existence was previously concealed.
The Guardian May told the Commons that revelations contained in the review about the original murder investigation were “deeply troubling”.
The independent inquiry by Mark Ellison also found the spy and other undercover officers gathered personal details about Doreen and Neville Lawrence, the parents of the murdered teenager.
The information obtained included “discussion of the progress, reasons and details of the decisions made by the Lawrence family” connected to their campaign to force the Metropolitan police to investigate their son’s racist murder properly.
May also went beyond the Lawrence case to announce a review of successful prosecutions where investigations involved undercover officers. It came after Ellison voiced considerable concern at the wider problems caused by the blanket of secrecy shrouding undercover police operations and demanded the review, which he will now lead.
He said he wanted to revisit prosecutions “to assess if material non-disclosure [of the role of SDS officers] may have occurred in any case in which there has been a conviction”.
Hours later, it emerged in the afternoon that prosecutors are deliberating whether to charge three police officers over sexual relationships they formed while undercover.
The Crown Prosecution Service is examining a file of evidence gathered by Operation Herne, the internal police investigation into the alleged misconduct of the undercover spies over the past 40 years.
Mick Creedon, the Derbyshire chief constable, who is in charge of the investigation, said in his report that “there are not and have never been any circumstances where it would be appropriate for such covertly deployed officers to engage in intimate sexual relationships with those they are employed to infiltrate and target”.