As Spycops Inquiry Moves on to Second Phase, Scotland Yard Claims Undercover Policing Has Changed


The Undercover Policing Inquiry began in November, after five years of preliminary investigation. Now the second phase is examining allegations that for years undercover police officers engaged in sexual relationships and other deceptions with people under surveillance.

As the second phase of the Undercover Policing Inquiry gets under way the Metropolitan Police has sought to play down some of the allegations, claiming they came amid the “challenging backdrop” of social unrest and attack by Irish terrorists.

The so-called Spycops Inquiry began, on Wednesday 21 April, examining the work of the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) between 1973 and 1982.

​The inquiry was set up in 2015 by the then Home Secretary Theresa May after it emerged that members of the SDS had used dead children’s identities as cover names, had deceived women into long-term relationships and had even fathered children with activists while working undercover.

The SDS was set up in 1968 and finally disbanded 40 years later.

In 2015 the Met settled seven claims from women who suffered from the “unacceptable behaviour” of a number of undercover police officers working for the SDS.

​Helen Ball, the Met’s Assistant Commissioner for Professionalism, said covert policing was still an important tactic used to gather “crucial intelligence and evidence” in serious crime and terrorism investigations.

She said when undercover officers volunteer they are often…

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