Police

1 October 2021News

Police spies targeted anti-nuclear group

The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) revealed in mid-September that it had been a target of the Metropolitan police’s undercover Special Demonstration Squad during the 1980s.

Two undercover police officers were involved, according to the long-running Undercover Police Inquiry (UCPI).

‘John Kerry’ worked in the CND office in London between 1981 and 1984.

‘Timothy Spence’ inserted himself into a CND group in East London (as well as defence campaigns against the…

1 December 2018News in Brief

On 3 October, in the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT), the police failed to close down Kate Wilson’s human rights claim about secret political policing.

Kate Wilson is a social and environmental justice campaigner who had a two-year intimate sexual relationship with undercover police officer Mark Kennedy.

The IPT panel ordered the police to provide a fully-pleaded defence, supported by witness evidence, within three months.

These rulings were a response to…

1 December 2018News in Brief

On 21 November, Scotland’s supreme civil court, the court of session, ruled that the UK and Scottish governments acted correctly in not extending the Undercover Policing Inquiry north of the border.

The judicial review was brought by Tilly Gifford, an activist who was herself targeted by the police for surveillance.

She said: ‘This is a massively disappointing decision by the court. Our evidence is clear and sound – there has been undercover policing in Scotland, and it…

1 August 2018News

London and Glasgow conferences mark 50 years since the formation of Britain's undercover political police squad

Dave Morris, one of the organisers of the ‘1968-2018: A Celebration of 50 years of Resistance, despite 50 years of police opposition, spying and repression’ conference at Conway Hall.photo: PN

The issue of undercover policing gained more attention in June because of a brave stand by Lush, the vegetarian/vegan cosmetics company. Then the Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance (COPS) and COPS Scotland held conferences in London and Glasgow on 7 July and 23 June, marking 50…

3 May 2018Blog entry

A Metropolitan Police disciplinary board has found against one of its own, a former undercover police officer with the notorious Special Demonstration Squad who deceived three women activists into relationships.

British undercover police officer Jim Boyling

Today, 3 May 2018, former undercover police officer Jim Boyling has been found guilty of gross misconduct for pursuing an unauthorised sexual relationship with 'Rosa' (a pseudonym) using his false identity, failing to inform his line…

1 April 2018News

Terrorism charges followed arrival of British undercover cop, documents reveal

On 18 March, French prosecutors finally admitted that they were relying on information supplied by British undercover police officer Mark Kennedy, in a case against the Tarnac group of French activists, in a trial due to close just after PN goes to press.

Kennedy, who used the name ‘Mark Stone’ while undercover, was sent to France to spy on the Tarnac group in June 2008 as an officer of the UK national public order intelligence unit (NPOIU), according to secret NPOIU documents…

1 April 2018Feature

An internal manual for infiltrating activist groups, written by disgraced undercover police officer Andy Coles, has been made public by the Undercover Policing Inquiry

Andy Coles

On 19 March, the Undercover Policing Inquiry (led until July 2017 by Christopher Pitchford) posted the previously-secret Special Demonstration Squad Tradecraft Manual on its website (see accompanying article for extracts). The Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) was a section of Special Branch, the British political police, devoted to undercover operations, which existed between 1968 and 2008.…

1 April 2018News

Doreen Lawrence says chair turning hearing into 'inquiry cloaked in secrecy and anonymity'

People targeted by undercover police walk out of the Undercover Policing Inquiry at the high court in London on 21 March. Photo: Razbigor

Dramatic developments in the #spycops scandal unfolded on 21 March, when people targeted by undercover police, their lawyer and their supporters walked out of the Undercover Policing Inquiry (UCPI) being held at the high court in London.

Baroness Doreen Lawrence backed the walk-out, saying that the chair of the inquiry, sir John Mitting, was…

1 August 2017News

Evidence to Pichford inquiry unlikely to be heard until mid-2019

The Pitchford public inquiry into undercover policing continues its frustrating, meandering path, bogged down in procedural issues.

The honest picture is that very little is coming out of the inquiry at the moment. To the alarm of many involved, we are being told that evidence is unlikely to be heard until mid-2019. That is five years after the inquiry was first announced, nine since undercover police officer Mark Kennedy was first exposed.

Much of the work done to date…

3 June 2017Feature

A PN worker remembers a narrow escape with a police infiltrator

16 March 1991: Undercover police officer Andy Coles (calling himself ‘Andy Davey’) tries to cover his face as he is photographed next to PN editor Milan Rai in a pub in Fairford, Gloucestershire, after an anti-war protest at a nearby US base. PHOTO: NOOR ADMANI

In 1991, I was living in London and involved in a nonviolent direct action affinity group called ARROW (Active Resistance to the Roots of War). The group had started with direct action against the 1991 Gulf War, and then broadened…

1 June 2017Feature

PN's editor recalls his experience of a 'police triple-decker sandwich'

(L-R) David Polden, ‘Andy Davey’, Pippa Gibbins, Andrea Needham. PHOTO: NOOR ADMANI 

My clearest memory of ‘Andy Davey’, the undercover police officer Andy Coles, is a bizarre moment that I would now describe as a ‘police triple-decker sandwich’.

On 10 February 1991, Christian peace activist Chris Cole and I had broken into the US air force base at Fairford in Gloucestershire to protest against the B-52 raids carried out from the base. (The B-52s were bombing Iraq.)

We had…

30 May 2017Blog entry

Peace News publishes the first full-face photographs of police officer Andy Coles while he was undercover as 'Andy Davey' in the early 1990s. Coles was exposed as a police infiltrator on 12 May 2017 and forced to resign as deputy police and crime commissioner for Cambridgeshire on 15 May

Today, Peace News is publishing the first full-face photographs of 'Andy Davey', the identity taken by undercover police officer Andy Coles in 1991 when he infiltrated the nonviolent direct action group ARROW. 

Coles was publicly exposed as a police infiltrator on 12 May, after investigation by the Undercover Research Group. On the same day, details emerged of an abusive sexual…

1 April 2016Feature

The Pitchford Inquiry into police infiltration gathers steam

The last few months have seen a constant stream of pressure applied to the police as campaigners mobilise ahead of the Pitchford Inquiry into undercover policing. In an unusual turn of affairs, those seeking answers and justice appear to have the upper hand following some high-profile resignations and debates. The response: the police have demanded that sir Christopher Pitchford holds the inquiry in secret.

An unusual demonstration in January saw socialists, animal rights…

1 April 2016News

Cases dropped against 20 anti-fracking protestors

More bad news for Manchester police over their handling of the Barton Moss anti-fracking ‘Community Protection Camp’, (November 2013 – April 2014).

In early February, the crown prosecution service (CPS) dropped charges against 20 anti-fracking ‘protectors’ following the acquittal of John Wasilewski and David Cohen on 22 January, according to Netpol, the police monitoring group. (20 more cases were under review.)

District judge Sanders said he was not sure that either…

1 February 2016News

Met withdraw defence to avoid disclosure

Image: Emily Johns

On 15 January, Kate Wilson, who was deceived into a relationship with British undercover police officer Mark Kennedy for two years, won a high court battle against Scotland Yard.

The Metropolitan police withdrew its attempt to defend against her claims of deceit, assault/battery, misfeasance in public office and negligence.

The victory came two months after seven other women who were tricked into relationships with undercover police officers received…