21 Mar 2016

Exclusive: lawyers claim Met lied to judges over secret policing

The public inquiry into undercover policing is being asked to examine whether the Metropolitan Police may have deceived the country’s most senior judges.

Channel 4 News has exclusively obtained details of a submission made by lawyers for a number of anti-war demonstrators, who won a ground breaking case in the House of Lords in 2006 which established the right to protest.

Three coaches carrying 120 protesters were stopped by police and turned back from demonstrating at the US Fairford airbase in Gloucestershire in 2003, 3 days after the start of the war in Iraq.

In the submission they argue that two undercover officers were embedded in the protest movement, helped organise the trip and fed intelligence to the police operation, that was ultimately declared unlawful.


One of them, they say, is the man pictured above, who they knew as Rod Richardson. Their submission states he was on one of the coaches and knew the plans and identities of many of the protesters.

The lawyers are asking the inquiry to examine the degree to which Mr Richardson may have acted as agent provocateur, the accuracy of police disclosure during the judicial process and what extent his involvement was hidden from the courts.

Zoe Young, who was party to a 10-year legal fight for compensation from the police, said: “We were there to express our desire for peace around the world, we were against war and we had secret police on our buses.

“Police concealed that from us and then they concealed the fact that they had police on the buses with us throughout the 10-year judicial process that ensued.

“They just need to come clean now – this is about reputation management and it needs to be about the truth.”

The Met Police said in a statement that it was “not prepared to confirm nor deny if any individual works or has worked undercover”.

“The policy of neither confirming or denying such information has been considered by the courts and found to be necessary to protect the identities of those who work or have worked in covert roles, often in difficult and dangerous situations. This work leaves a legacy of risk to operatives, and often to their families.

“Operation Herne, an investigation into potential criminality and misconduct by SDS officers overseen by an independent Chief Constable Mick Creedon from Derbyshire, reported publically in July 2013 regarding the historic use of deceased children’s names by undercover officers.

“There is now a re-investigation being carried out into one allegation relating to this subject.

“We are providing our fullest possible support to the current public inquiry into undercover policing.

“The MPS will deal with requests for information or to provide disclosure through the Preliminary Hearings and Inquiry itself. That is the correct place for the MPS to respond.”

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