Victims of police spying accuse May of cover-up

Victims of a police spying scandal in Scotland have accused Theresa May of a cover-up after the UK government declined to extend an inquiry into undercover policing north of the border.

Harry Halpin, pictured inset, and Jason Kirkpatrick yesterday said they were angered by the UK government’s decision not to include Scotland in its investigation into police spying.

The Pitchford Inquiry was set up in England and Wales following a high-profile scandal concerning allegations of officers entering into relationships, fathering children and causing miscarriages of justice while working undercover.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The investigation was set up after the allegations came to light. Meanwhile, the Met issued an “unreserved apology” for the behaviour of its National Public Order Intelligence Unit.

The Met has also agreed compensation packages for seven women deceived into having relationships with undercover officers.

Political parties in Scotland have argued the undercover policing inquiry, chaired by Sir Christopher Pitchford, should also include Scotland following claims that officers were operating north of the border.

Mark Kennedy, one of five officers known to have had relationships with women, is alleged to have infiltrated environmental groups ahead of the G8 summit at Gleneagles.

Last week UK government policing minister Brandon Lewis wrote to Labour MSP Neil Findlay to say it was “not possible” to extend the inquiry. The decision has led to calls for Scotland to mount its own investigation.

The UK government’s insistence on restricting the investigation to south of the border led to anger from Jason Kirkpatrick and Harry Halpin, two activists who were befriended by Kennedy in Scotland.

Kirkpatrick attended the G8 Summit at Gleneagles in 2005 and handled media for protest group Dissent.

At that time, he met Mark Kennedy – who then went under the alias Mark “Flash” Stone. Kennedy was working undercover as an environmental activist and the two men were friends for five years.

Yesterday Kirkpatrick told Scotland on Sunday: “I was stunned and immensely disappointed at hearing that Theresa May has decided to limit efforts to see this undercover policing scandal be resolved and I am horrified at the thought that I may never find justice for what happened to me when I was targeted by the undercover police when doing press work during the Scottish 2005 G8 Summit protests.”

Kennedy stayed at Halpin’s house when the climate change activist was studying for a PhD in computing at Edinburgh University. Halpin claims Kennedy duped him into helping Kennedy spy on his computer communications.

Yesterday Halpin said: “It is a real shame that Theresa May did not extend the inquiry to Scotland and personally I think it is because she is covering things up. The larger question is was Mark authorised by the Scottish authorities or was he operating under the somewhat shadowy supervision of the Met?

“I believe he was heavily involved in spying on Scottish activists during the G8 summit. He claimed that intelligence that he gathered there ended up on Tony Blair’s desk.

“He’s also been spying on Scottish climate change activists after the G8. That’s when he spied on me when I was living in Edinburgh.”

Lewis’s letter to Findlay said May, the former home secretary, had considered calls to widen the inquiry to Scotland, but changing the terms of reference would delay it.