Hundreds walk out of inquiry after judge refuses to reveal names of spy cops
Hundreds of participants in the undercover policing enquiry yesterday walked out after the judge told them he would not reveal the names of officers who had relationships with activists.
Members of the Blacklist Support Group have called for the removal of Sir John Mitting after he said victims would be met with a “wall of silence” in key parts of the inquiry and is granting anonymity to almost every police officer. A statement from the BSG said: “This will not be justice. We are not prepared to participate in a process in which the victims are merely window dressing.”
The walkout was backed by Unite, whose assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said: “Unite entirely endorses the walkout by the victims of undercover policing. The whole point of the public inquiry was to learn the truth into how the police for nearly 50 years infiltrated organisations and deceived women into sexual relationships.
“The way Judge Mittings is operating is making a mockery of the process. If he is not prepared to ensure transparency he should immediately stand down and be replaced with a panel that is representative of society.
“As information continues to trickle out there is growing evidence that many of these officers were heavily involved in the blacklisting of construction workers, which ruined hundreds of lives.”
Doreen Lawrence, Life President of the Stephen Lawrence Trust, said: “I am saddened that I and other victims of undercover policing had to walk out of the UCPI yesterday. This was a step I never expected to take when the inquiry was set up but it is one that I have been forced to take.
“The reason why I did this is simple and it is down to the actions and decisions of the chair. Influenced by his own publicly stated ‘old fashioned’ and ‘naive’ views, he is turning what should be a transparent, accountable and public hearing into an inquiry cloaked in secrecy and anonymity.
“I want to know the names of the police officers who spied on me, my family and our campaign for justice. The chair is not allowing that, in my view, for reasons which are completely unjustifiable and unreasonable. Theresa May, then Home Secretary and now Prime Minister promised me a truly thorough, transparent and accountable inquiry.
“This has turned into anything but that and before any more public money is spent on an Inquiry which does not achieve this, the chair should resign or continue with a panel which is not naive or old fashioned and which understands my concerns about policing and what I went through. Anything less than this will lead me to consider carefully whether I should continue to participate in this inquiry.”
A statement from the BSG said: “Mitting was put in charge to carry out a job of work on us – and he’s doing it. Time and again he gives the police the benefit of the doubt, to the detriment of those whose lives have been torn apart by this human rights scandal.
“Tinkering around the edges isn’t going to change things. We have no confidence in Mitting. He must go and needs to be replaced with a panel of experts who have have at least some degree of empathy with the victims and are prepared to question the accounts of undercover police officers who have been trained to lie”.
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