The Met is is one of the ‘Core Participants’ in the Undercover Policing Inquiry, a statutory public Inquiry set up in 2015 by the then Home Secretary, Theresa May, to examine undercover policing within England and Wales from 1968 to the present day. The chairman of the Inquiry is Sir John Mitting, a former High Court judge.
The Inquiry is assessing the contribution undercover policing has made to tackling crime, and how it was and is supervised and regulated, and its effect on individuals involved – police officers and others who came into contact with them. This includes:
UCO participation in criminality and the criminal justice system
UCO deployments, and how they were managed
Support for UCOs
Full details of the issues the Inquiry is exploring are set out in its terms of reference on the Inquiry website.
What will be covered
The Inquiry is examining, in particular, the work of two former undercover policing units:
The Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) initially known as the Special Operation Squad – an undercover unit set up by the Metropolitan Police Service (“the Met”) between 1968 and 2008.
The National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU) – which was active between 1999 and 2011. The NPOIU’s governance changed during its operation. It was overseen at different times by the Met and the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO). ACPO was later replaced by its successor the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC).
How the Met is assisting the Inquiry
The Met is one of the organisations that has played a significant role in the matters being examined by the Inquiry. A considerable part of the evidence to be heard by the Inquiry will be about the activities of Met officers. A number of former and current Met officers will therefore be called by the Inquiry to give evidence.
Since the Inquiry was announced in 2015, the Met has offered its full assistance to the Inquiry and has provided extensive access to and disclosure of documents and other relevant archive material. This has exceeded more than 80,000 documents and 600,000 pages.
To date the Inquiry has heard evidence at two public hearings:
The Tranche 1 Phase 1 Hearing ran from 2 to 19 November 2020. Opening statements were delivered by many of the Inquiry’s Core Participants at this hearing, and evidence heard from former undercover officers and non-state witnesses about the SDS during the period 1968 to the end of 1972.
A copy of the Met’s opening statement which sets out our position in relation to some of the key issues in the Inquiry is available.
A press statement issued by the Met in relation to Tranche 1 Phase 1 is available.
The Tranche 1 Phase 2 Hearing ran from 21 April to 13 May 2021. This hearing focussed on SDS deployments which began between 1970 and 1979. Opening statements were delivered by those Core Participants with direct involvement or interest in this period, and evidence was heard from former undercover officers and civilian witnesses from this time.