Anger at Scotland’s failure to publish undercover policing review

Chief Constable Phil Gormley was head of the Special Branch of the Met in 2006. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Chief Constable Phil Gormley was head of the Special Branch of the Met in 2006. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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An activist who believes he was targeted by a notorious surveillance officer has expressed his “extreme frustration” at the Scottish Government’s failure to publish a review of undercover policing.

Jason Kirkpatrick claims he was spied on by former Metropolitan Police officer Mark Kennedy during anti-globalisation protests in Scotland at the time of the G8 summit at Gleneagles in 2005.

Mr Kirkpatrick has joined the criticism of justice secretary Michael Matheson who is yet to publish a review of undercover policing despite being given the report by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMICS) on 2 November.

The review was established after then Home Secretary Theresa May refused to extend a judicial inquiry to cover Scotland.

The Undercover Policing Inquiry, led by Sir John Mitting, is investigating undercover police operations in England and Wales dating back to 1968.

Mr Kirkpatrick, who has been granted core participant status by the English inquiry, has written to Mr Matheson to express his frustration at delays in publishing the HMICS review.

He said: “I have been waiting nearly a year and a half now for this HMICS report, and I’m sure you can imagine my frustration with your offices upon finding you have not released it for two months, despite the concerns expressed by numerous victims of undercover police...”

He added: “I urge you to please stick by your assurances to the public on this issue by releasing a copy of the HMICS report immediately.”

The Metropolitan Police has previously apologised to a number of women who were tricked into relationships by undercover officers, including Kennedy. Last year the HMICS said its review would look at the work of the National Public Order Intelligence Unit and the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS).

Chief Constable Phil Gormley, who is currently on leave while bullying allegations are investigated, was head of Special Branch at the Met in 2006 – the division which had responsibility for the SDS.

Earlier this week, the convener of the Scottish Parliament’s justice sub-committee on policing, John Finnie, wrote to Mr Matheson after plans to publish the HMICS report on Tuesday were postponed. Derek Penman, HM Inspector of Constabulary in Scotland, said: “This review was directed by the cabinet secretary for justice and was delivered to him on November 2.

“In terms of the legislation, it is for the cabinet secretary to decide when to lay before parliament. I will ensure that the report is published on our website as soon as it is laid before parliament”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The cabinet secretary received HMICS’s report, ‘A Strategic Review of Undercover Policing in Scotland’, in November 2017.

“Once HMICS’ report’s findings have been fully considered, arrangements will be made to lay the report in the Scottish Parliament. The Scottish Government will then make a ministerial statement.”