Probe into undercover police ‘should include Scotland’, Theresa May told

Home Secretary Theresay May, centre. Picture: PA
Home Secretary Theresay May, centre. Picture: PA
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A cross-party group of MSPs has called on Home Secretary Theresa May to extend an inquiry into undercover policing north of the Border.

More than 30 members of Holyrood’s opposition parties have added their names to an open letter demanding the remit of the Pitchford inquiry be extended to cover Scotland.

Undercover operatives working for the Metropolitan Police, including notorious officer Mark Kennedy, are known to have spied on political activists in Scotland during the G8 summit in 2005.

Campaigners say Kennedy and a number of other Metropolitan Police officers infiltrated environmental groups in the run-up to the Gleneagles event and carried on spying on them for years afterwards.

In their letter to Mrs May, the MSPs said there was a growing body of evidence to show both the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU) and the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) had monitored a “broad range” of campaigners in Scotland and that a number of Scottish officers had been seconded to the units.

Police Scotland’s chief constable, Phil Gormley, was head of Special Branch in 2006 – the division which had responsibility for the SDS.

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

Labour MSP Neil Findlay, who has led calls for the inquiry to be extended, said: “The evidence of Scottish links to the undercover policing scandal is compelling and grows by the week.

“If Pitchford does not include Scotland we will be left with the absurd situation where Scottish people are denied justice yet victims in England and Wales will have access to it.

“If Pitchford is not extended to Scotland then it is incumbent on the SNP Government to hold its own Scottish inquiry.”

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

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Discussions concerning extending the Pitchford inquiry to cover the activities of the Metropolitan Police Units in Scotland are ongoing.”