Campaigners told review of spy police will get to the truth

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The Scottish Government has moved to reassure campaigners amid concerns over the body tasked with carrying out a review of controversial undercover policing.

HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland (HMICS) 
has been asked to look into police spying after the Home Office denied a request to extend the judge-led Undercover Policing Inquiry north of the Border.

The Scottish Government has now been forced to defend the review amid criticism from campaigners who question the independence of HMICS and want Scotland to set up its own inquiry into the issue.

Units attached to the Metropolitan Police are known to have spied on activists in Scotland in the run-up to the G8 summit at Gleneagles in 2005.

The operatives are said to have included notorious officer Mark Kennedy who was among those who duped women he was spying on into having sexual relationships.

Last year, the Metropolitan Police issued an “unreserved apology” to seven women deceived into having relationships with undercover officers, including Kennedy.

The English inquiry – led by Lord Justice Pitchford – is looking at undercover police operations in England and Wales dating back to 1968, but its remit does not extend to ­Scotland.

In a letter to campaigner Jason Kirkpatrick, Graeme Waugh, of the Scottish Government’s police division, said: “I would like to reassure you that HMICS provides independent scrutiny of Police Scotland and the Scottish Police Authority.

“It is an entirely separate entity to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary for England and Wales.

“The review will be essential in gathering facts about existing and historical undercover policing activities over the period the Scottish Parliament has had responsibility in this area and will inform any future decisions the Scottish Government makes.”

But Mr Kirkpatrick, who carried out media work in the run-up to the G8 summit, said the review did not go far enough.

He said: “The HMICS review as proposed by the government doesn’t even begin to answer the many questions I have.

“I demand access to my police files and I want to know why English undercover officers targeted my press work in Scotland.

“I want to know if the police used an undercover officer known as ‘Khris’ to trick me into an intimate affair to spy on the legally protected journalist work I was doing during the 2005 G8 protests.

“These tactics are similar to what one would expect of the loathed East German Stasi, and this case must be fully and transparently investigated.”