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article imageReview: ‘The Police’s Dirty Secret’ Special

By Alexander Baron     Jun 25, 2013 in Politics
Another former undercover police officer has come out of the closet in a TV documentary, but how much of what he says can be believed?
This Channel 4 Dispatches documentary is currently on iplayer, for those who can receive it.
If you haven't already read about undercover plod Mark Kennedy, you can find him here—follow the links. This programme deals with two officers who went one better than Kennedy and then some, including one who fathered a child with one of these daffy women who think they can change the world by protesting outside the BNP's headquarters, or carrying out acts of low level sabotage in the name of animal "rights."
This bloke—who is now an academic—chose not to speak to the documentary makers, but one of his underlings did. Former undercover police officer Peter Francis was a member of the Special Demonstration Squad, a small group who went under deep cover in far left and environmentalist groups. Doubtless they had and perhaps still have their agents in the far right too, although there was no mention of that here.
One of the assignments given Mr. Francis was to try to dig up some dirt on the Lawrence family. It will be remembered that after the murder of Stephen Lawrence in April 1993, his parents—Doreen and Neville—dissatisfied with the police investigation, mounted a campaign of their own.
Now as then, Doreen Lawrence continues to make idiotic pronouncements about the death of her son and the supposed incompetence of the police who investigated it. Neville Lawrence, having had his fill of both the UK and his shrewish ex-wife has now decamped to his native Jamaica, so he was not available for comment, although Doreen was.
Was what the police did in this connection so bad? Yes and no.
In the early days of the campaign, the usual suspects did indeed attempt to make political capital out of the murder of Stephen Lawrence, but Doreen and Neville would have none of this, and in September 1993, the Evening Standard reported they had dissociated themselves from these activists because “To our dismay we found that the political agendas and rivalries of different organisations began to take over the meetings.” And their son's name was “too precious to be used in a cynical way”.
This, though, did not stop Doreen in particular supporting the ludicrous but Draconian recommendations of the Macpherson Report, including those that have clearly undermined the rule of law as well as bred a snitch culture in British institutions.
Although the Lawrence family had no skeletons in their closet, the activities of this special squad led to a few of their own, not simply skeletons but babies. Francis was asked if he had ever had sex with women activists of the groups he had infiltrated. He admitted he had done so twice, although he didn't specify if this was twice a night or only twice a week. One woman who had sexual relations with another officer said she felt she had been raped; Francis came close to admitting that what he had done was tantamount to rape. No it was not. If every man who lied his way into a woman's knickers was guilty of rape, the prisons would be full. It was certainly unethical though, and against the official guidelines, to put it mildly.
Paul Condon was Police Commissioner from the beginning of 1993 until the end of 1999, and he denied any knowledge of improper operations on his watch. Well, he would say that, wouldn't he? Former Home Secretary Jack Straw, who appeared in the programme, said an inquiry was called for. It remains to be seen if one will be mounted, or if any such inquiry could get at the truth. A total of nine of 10 identified undercover officers have been found to have engaged in sexual relationships with women whom they were in a very general sense investigating.
The police do far more than this though; there was no mention here of any grossly illegal activity, such as inciting and/or participating in serious crimes, including for purposes that have nothing to do with enforcing the Queen's Peace, but that story would be too fantastic for anyone bar the crazies to credit. Ditto the cover-ups that always follow.
More about Stephen Lawrence, Doreen Lawrence, political police, special demonstration squad, sir paul condon
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