National Undercover Scrutiny Panel

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This article is part of the Undercover Research Portal at PowerBase - investigating corporate and police spying on activists.

Part of a series on
Undercover Policing Organisations
National Undercover Scrutiny Panel
Undercover Policing Oversight Board / Group
A national body to 'review, challenge and provide feedback on the standards for undercover policing' in the UK
Parent organisations:
2014 to present (2015)

The National Undercover Scrutiny Panel (or Undercover Policing Oversight Board / Group) is a working group established in 2014 by the College of Policing as 'part of a set of changes to providing greater transparency and review of undercover policing'.[1] Membership is voluntary and unpaid; though brought together by the College of Policing, it is nominally independent of it.[1]

It was established in 2014 under the chair of Chief Constable Alex Marshall, who had the power to determine who was or was not appropriate to invite.[2] It has since met in October 2014, February 2015 and late April - early May 2015.[3] According to the press release, the role of the panel is to provide external feedback and support the review of the evidence base for policing practice and standards. It is also expected to complete a review of undercover work by January 2016.[1]

Though a few academics and civil society activists agreed to sit on the Panel, it is, however, dominated by police with connections to undercover policing, such as Mick Creedon who heads the Operation Herne investigation into the scandal.


The work of the Scrutiny Group follows on from the work of a number of internal reports into undercover police:

The findings of the inspection of undercover policing, commissioned by the Home Secretary and conducted by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), were released in October 2014 and highly critical of the National Undercover Working Group and its leadership.[5][6] The Report pointed out serious deficiencies in the standards regime around undercover police work,[7] including the 'culture of secrecy' and the 'closed nature' of undercover work that had led to a lack of accountability and scrutiny.[8]

The Association of Chief Police Officers released a statement simultaneously, announcing various changes in the undercover policing regime, including "an oversight group [...] set up to build and maintain strategic support from chief constables.'[6]

Theresa May, Home Secretary, wanted to act fast to restore confidence in the police and stated she had increased oversight and transparency in undercover work, including raising the authorisation level for undercover officers and strengthening the role of the independent Office of Surveillance Commissioners. She also wrote to the chief executive of the College of Policing[9] and to the responsible national policing leads, Sir Jon Murphy and Mr Mick Creedon, asking them to set out an action plan and timetable for the police to respond to the recommendations of this report.[10]

This resulted in the National Undercover Scrutiny Panel, set up by two officers closely linked to undercover policing themselves. Jon Murphy, the Chief Constable of Merseyside Police, is the National Policing Lead for the Crime Business Area of the Association of Chief Police Officers.[11] and the National Crime Agency.[12] Mick Creedon, Chief Constable of Derbyshire Police, is National Policing Lead for Serious and Organised Crime for both the National Crime Agency [12] and the Association of Chief Police Officers.[13]

Note on name

Though the Panel was initially described publicly as the National Undercover Scrutiny Panel, it appears from the various minutes that it has evolved into the (Undercover Policing) National Oversight Board. We shall for the purposes of this profile refer to it as the Scrutiny Panel or NUSP.

Terms of Reference

The terms of reference for the Scrutiny Panel set out the College of Policing's intentions:[14][15]

This group will review, challenge and provide feedback on the standards for undercover policing. It will also consider the leadership, management and supervisory frameworks and the way undercover policing is presented to the wider public. It will identify what evidence might assist in developing future practice. Members will support each other in the challenge process.
The Panel will aim to
  • Improve public confidence in the use of undercover policing tactics.
  • Identify lessons from operations (not live ones), public inquiries or reviews, and make recommendations to the police service on how they should be addressed.
  • Review and assess new and emerging undercover policing standards against tests of proportionality and necessity as well as wider judgements of social acceptability and practical applicability.
  • Review the evidence base for good and effective practice in undercover policing including cost/benefit analysis.
  • Advise on such issues as the ‘Neither Confirm Nor Deny’ policy, Agent Provocateur, Intelligence Deployments and other potentially sensitive or contentious areas.
  • Make suggestions about the areas of undercover policing that merit deeper research or analysis.
  • Assist in, and guide, the way undercover policing is described and presented to the wider public and consider how wider views and feedback might be gathered from victims of crime, practitioners and those affected by undercover policing.

From the minutes of the second meeting, it appears that the Terms of Reference is a revolving document and within the remit of David Tucker, a representative of the College of Policing.[2]

Details of Meetings

July 2014 Meeting (1st)

The first meeting was held on 1 July 2014, and the group was at that point titled the 'Undercover Oversight Group'. No formal minutes were taken, but a briefing note that came from it was released under a FOIA request.[16][15] The meeting was apparently held at short notice and 'involved calling upon the knowledge and networks of colleagues and stakeholders.'[16]

The briefing noted that following a wide ranging discussion, three themes emerged, which were broken into several aspects in turn:[16]

  • Developing an evidence base, i.e., a better understanding of what is happening across the UK; this included suggestions for further research:
→ 'We need a better understanding of what is happening across the UK. How many deployments, for what sort of crimes, applying what range of tactics to what result?'
→ 'What would the public think about such approaches? How can we test more systematically public perceptions and issues of public acceptably?'
→ 'What impact and affect does being an undercover officer have on culture and behaviours of those involved.'
  • The development of greater transparency.
This seemed to mainly focus on how undercover policing was reported and the 'lack of understanding by commentators and the wider public' and 'there needed to be more balance in the public discourse with better explanation of how the tactic contributes to public safety'.
  • Independent and public focused scrutiny of the way officers are selected and trained. The briefing letter noted:
'We agreed to develop proposals to provide a “lay visitor” type scrutiny of undercover selection and training. We would need to consider appropriate vetting and how they can see both the actual training and the core materials.'

Peter Jukes, who attended the first meeting only,[17] noted that the first meeting was an informal discussion and was not particularly secretive. People had been invited with a view to being critical of existing practice; in his case it was a personal connection with Rob Beckley, with whom he had worked for the 2011 Radio Four drama series 'Bad Faith'. There was focus on the Special Demonstration Squad and how it had gone off the rails. Discussion focused on the dilemma between public interest and political policing. In particular, senior police officers were wary of any disclosure while journalists stated that stories needed to be broken if things were going wrong and oversight of how public money was being spent. The related dilemma of achieving transparency / public scrutiny without endangering undercovers was also covered.[18]

October 2014 Meeting (2nd)

The second meeting of the Panel took place at Avonmouth House in Lambeth, London, on 22 October 2014. It was attended by only 11 of 23 the Panel members and focused on the need to produce consistent training, standards and best practice across the UK in terms of undercover policing. It also noted there was cultural resistance to change in relation to undercover work within the police. The Scrutiny Panel and another unnamed 'peer oversight group' would ensure that the future framework for undercover policing was sufficient to measure the actions of undercovers. Psychological support was also cited as a key area to focus on. A programme of work was mentioned, apparently created by the National Undercover Working Group, which had been broken down in to the following areas:[2]

National, Selection, Training, Mental Wellbeing, Continuous Professional Development, Authorised Professional Practice and Accreditation.

February 2015 Meeting (3rd)

The third meeting was held on 5 Februray 2015, 11am at the Novotel, Southwark, where it was called the National Oversight Group'. It was a much smaller affair, with only 10 people attending (2 by phone) and four apologies (see below for details). Previous actions appear to have all been completed, and David Tucker continued to act as effective secretary to the group.[19]

A number of topics were addressed:

  • a presentation on the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (from Richard Martin);
  • a discussion on the group's 'role in encouraging openness and transparency in undercover policing', which lead to the Terms of Reference being updated to 'to make clear that the group’s role is to act as overseer and critical friend for the structures within which undercover policing operates';
  • that future meetings 'should focus on protecting identities and tactics in undercover policing, particularly the use of ‘neither confirm nor deny’ policy.'

Ben Bowling presented a papers on research issues 'he felt would form the basis of discussions between the College, the police service and academics.' These issues were listed as:

  • Public attitudes to undercover policing.
  • How the tactic is used and targeted.
  • Issues that affect undercover officers.

It was noted that the National Undercover Working Group Action Plan for responding to the HM Inspectorate of Constabulary report recommendations had been circulated prior to the meeting, and that Jon Boutcher would keep the group updated.

April 2015 Meeting (4th)

The fourth meeting of the NUSP / National Oversight Group took place on 29 April 2015 at Riverside House.[20]

Topics included:

  • Chief Constable Mick Creedon presented a paper on the principle of 'Neither Confirm Nor Deny'. This was followed by a discussion.
  • The revised terms of reference accepted.
  • Discussion of a draft Membership Code of Conduct which had been drawn up.
Concerns were expressed on the inclusion of the Nolan Principles which were said to apply only to people in public life and while the Panel's members felt they were assisting a public body the principles were not appropriate to be applied to them. Other concerns related to lack of explanation of the College of Police's duties to the Panel or and the lack of detail in the selection and de-selection of members and attendant appeals process.
  • Circulation and discussion of the National Undercover Working Group Action Plan to respond to the HMIC report.

June 2015 Meeting (5th)

The fifth meeting took place on 24 June 2015, at Riverside House.[21]

Issues and topics discussed were:

  • Membership
The Panel were having problems recruiting individuals and organisations, and it was flagged up that the tolerance of risk was a factor dissuading people from coming forward.
  • A presentation from occupational psychologist Lisa Garland of the College of Policing on changes in the selection and training of undercover officers since 2012.
Concerns over the impact of undercover work on the private lives of officers were raised, and it was also noted that the Code of Ethics formed an integral part of the undercover officer's work - and Ethical standards were tested in the selection process formed part of the ongoing training.
  • Further discussion of the draft Code of Conduct for the panel.
  • An unnamed representative from the National Crime Agency asked how the Panel could bring scrutiny to the challenge areas of undercover work.
The minutes state: 'The NCA and other law enforcement agencies are keen to be as open as possible and want external scrutiny of contentious areas but this needs to be done without compromising tactics or identities.'

September 2015 Meeting (6th)

The sixth meeting of the Panel was set for 1 September, 2015 at Riverside House.


The existence of the Scrutiny Panel came to public attention following a press release on the College of Policing website dated 12 March 2015. It presented the terms of reference for the Panel and some quotes from Alex Marshall, Sophie Khan and Sue Mountstevens.[22]

The sudden openness was, according to the press release, in response to commentary on social media. However, we have not found any trace of such commentary. And - with the exception of Bob Satchwell - no member with a public profile mentioned their membership of the panel online.[23] After the press release, only Sophie Khan has commented on her membership of the Panel, defending the need for public scrutiny in the light of what had come out about undercover officers having had long-term relationships with unsuspecting women.[24] She responded to comments from police ranks who questioned her presence on the Panel because of her outspoken criticism of police racism and the use of tasers.[25][26]

On 31st March 2015, the College of Policing issued and 'Updated statement' on the Scrutiny Panel[27] In it, the College of Policing responded to criticism saying:

The College accepts and welcomes the need for challenge and we encourage it by inviting critics of policing to engage with those who work within the service and share their views with us.
The panel is the first time we have brought together a group of unpaid volunteers for this purpose. Those invited to join were identified for their experience, expertise or record of challenging policing practices. The make-up of the group continues to be shaped and those initially involved were asked as part of an informal process.
The work of the scrutiny panel is entirely voluntary and unpaid. Those who share their views with us in this way do not make decisions about the setting of national standards or training for those in policing. No scrutiny panel member is ever given access to operationally sensitive information.
The College decision to make a public statement concerning the scrutiny panel in March came after we received final feedback from members around individual privacy concerns and agreement to publicising the establishment of the group. It was always our intention that the creation of the panel be open and transparent.

Resignation of Sophie Khan

Sophie Khan subsequently used her Police Action Centre blog at the Telegraph website late April 2015 to share her doubts, quoting the police attempt to ‘water down’ the terms of reference originally agreed and to reclassify the panel as an overseer and critical friend. She hoped that at the next meeting the membership of the panel would be extended to include more non-police voices, campaigners and activists who challenge undercover policing, but reckoned chances were small:[3]

The decision on who will be invited lies with the College of Policing’s Executive Board as it is a panel set up by the College to assist them with their work on improving policy, procedure and training on undercover policing. But without the input of those who challenge and campaign against abuse of undercover policing the task of improving standards cannot be achieved.

Khan said she was going to put her questions to the College again:

Vested interests are being protected by the police-led Panel but what about the rights of those who will be subjected to undercover policing?
Do they not have a right to be heard and for their interest to be considered?

On 1 June 2015 Khan stood down from the Scrutiny Panel, quoting disappointment with the lack of progress, of transparency and the lack of trust, writing:[28]

I am disappointed that the College of Policing has asked me and others to volunteer for a Panel that was never designed to progress the work on undercover policing.
The Panel was a good idea but without trust it is very difficult.

It is noted in the minutes of the 5th meeting that Khan had previously invited other groups and individuals but they were not forthcoming. However, it is followed by an otherwise undeveloped statement attributed to Ben Bowling that there 'needs to be an increase in tolerance of risk so that non-police voices can be heard'.[21]

Panel members and biographies

The members of the Scrutiny Panel and their roles were listed in the first press release by the College of Policing;[1] the short biographic information has by compiled by the Undercover Research Group to show the myriad connections between them.

Members of the Scrutiny Panel and their background as listed in the March press release

Name Role Short biography
1. Alex Marshall (Chair) College of Policing In February 2013 he became Chief Executive Officer of the College of Policing, having been Chief Constable of Hampshire Police since 2008.[29] As acting Deputy Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police (under Sara Thornton - see below), he was involved the investigation of animal rights extremists,[30] which places him close to the National Coordinator Domestic Extremism and the NPOIU. Previous roles saw him as Head of the Metropolitan Police's Public Order Training Department and Senior Investigating Officer in its Anti Corruption Command.[29] In 2000 he was a head of specialist operation policing for Cambridge Police,[31] which would have seen him encounter animal rights campaigns against Huntingdon Life Sciences.
2. Stephen Otter HM Inspectorate of Constabulary Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall Police 2007-2012, before joining the Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC). At the HMIC, he headed a 2014 report critical of the National Undercover Working Group, calling for a shake-up of it.[7] He also authored a 2012 HMIC report critical of the Historical Enquiries Team in Northern Ireland for given preferential treatment to the security forces and for lack of independence.[32] Appointed a commander at the Metropolitan Police in 2001, he subsequently served as Deputy Chief Constable of Avon and Somerset from 2002 to 2005. [33][34]
3. Sophie Khan Police Action Centre Stood down from the Scrutiny Panel on 1 June 2015 (see above; also see our blog posting on the The Undercover Policing Scrutiny Panel )[28] Police Action Centre. A solicitor who specialises in suing the police, inquests and the use of tasers. A founder of and Director of Legal and Policy for the Police Action Centre. She is also a trustee of the Stop and Search Legal Project and an executive member of the Haldane Society.[35] She has worked for various solicitors, including Imran Khan & Partners.[36][37]
4. Sue Mountstevens Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Said her role was to represent Police and Crime Commissioners on the Scrutiny Panel.[2] She is notable for having told her Chief Constable Nick Gargan the name of a whistle-blower who had complained about sexual advances from him.[38]
5. Richard Martin Metropolitan Police At the MPS he is Commander for Intelligence and Covert Policing.[39] A former chair of the National Undercover Working Group, having stepped down ahead of criticism of his leadership in the 2014 HMIC report, though he continued as a member.[7] He had taken over as Chair of NUWG from DAC Pat Gallan in January 2013. His background is in organised crime for the Metropolitan Police, and January 2002 to December 2004 he was Head of Intelligence for the National Criminal Intelligence Service,[40]. There he was 'Detective Chief Inspector responsible for conducting covert operations aimed at tackling serious and organized crime'.[41] a post which will have brought him into contact with undercover police units such as the NPOIU.
6. unnamed individual 'A clinician working to support undercover officers'.[2]
7. Jon Boutcher Bedfordshire Police Assistant Chief Constable for Bedfordshire (appointed May 2014).[42] As ACC he is head of Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire & Hertfordshire Joint Protective Services which includes the Counter Terrorism & Domestic Extremism (CTDE) team for those counties.[43] In August 2014 he replaced Richard Martin as Chair of the National Undercover Working Group.[7] He is the ACPO National Policing Lead for Undercover Policing.[6] He also took over from his predecessor John Fletcher as leading on the College of Policing's new Code of Ethics.[42] Previously he has been Silver Commander during the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezies,[44] and lead the hunt for the 21/7 attempted suicide bombers.[45] While an Assistant Chief Constable of Hertfordshire Police (2011 to 2013) he was ACPO lead on the Regulation of Investigative Powers Act, which provides the legislative framework for covert and undercover activities.[45] He has also been the National Co-ordinator PURSUE, leading role within the Government's counter-terrorism Strategy, CONTEST.
8. David Tucker College of Policing Head of the Crime and Criminal Justice Faculty for College of Policing. As a Detective Superintendent, he worked with ACPO TAM on community issues.[46] and was head of National Community Tension Team (where he was associated with Rob Beckley and worked with Special Branch on a national level). He was Borough Commander (Chief Supt.) for Enfield 2009-2011 before moving to the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children as Head of Policy (2011-2014). Previously Tucker had been a DCI at the Racial and Violent Crimes Task Force (ca. 2002-2003)[47] where he worked with John Grieve, another officer with significant undercover policing connections. Note, this David Tucker should not be confused with Commander David Tucker who headed up the Met's Anti-Terrorism Branch (SO13).
9. Gordon Ryan College of Policing. Principle Psychologist at the National Policing Improvement Agency 2007-2012, then at the College of Policing 2012-2014. Of the latter position he wrote that he "has sat on national policing governance boards for leadership selection, talent management, executive development and the organisational development of undercover policing.":[48] Ryan currently runs his own business, Prism Work Psychology Ltd, as an independent, chartered occupational psychologist. [49]
10. Kerry Robinson College of Policing
11. Rob Beckley College of Policing Chief Operating Officer for the College of Policing. A former member of the Terrorism and Allied Matters committee where he was the lead on communities and counter-terrorism[46] from 2002 to 2007,[50] In particular, he 'set up the National Community Tensions Team and designed and led the Prevent strand of the national counter-terrorism strategy'.[51] It is now known that in terms of policing, Prevent is a front for Special Branch work (i.e. the National Co-ordinator PREVENT is the same role as the former National Co-ordinator for Special Branch). As such he is likely to have had a close connection to the national units on domestic extremism and their associated undercover policing. In November 2012, Beckley was Deputy Chief Constable of Avon and Somerset police when he temporarily took over as Chief Constable from Colin Port, who had been told to reapply for his job by the newly appointed Police and Crime Commissioner, Sue Mountstevens.[52] Nick Gargan was appointed to succeed Port as Chief Constable of Avon and Somerset, and in June 2013, Beckley moved to the CoP.[53]
12. Joe McGuigan HMRC He was the Assistant Director (Criminal) Investigation / Head of Investigation, Northern Ireland for HM Revenue & Customs in 2007[54][55], who are known to make use of undercover officers.
13. David Carrigan Independent Advisory Group Chair of the College of Policing's Independent (Equality) Advisory Group since April 2010. He previously been chair of the National Police Improvement Agency's Equality Advisory Group[56] Board member of Praxis, a charity; Senior Manager, Diversity & Cohesion at the Homes and Community Agency. Formerly he had been Policy Manager for the Housing Corporation, and prior to that worked for the Commission for Racial Equality 1999 to 2004.[57]
14. Dr Chris Nathan Warwick University, Interdisciplinary Ethics Research Group Describes his current work as focusing on 'ethical issues connecting counter-terrorism and the policing of transnational organised crime'[58] and having an interest in the ethics of policing.[59] He participates in the SURVEILLE research project, an EU FP7 funded programme which looks at the impacts of surveillance systems, and the 'Ethics and Security: Terrorism and Transnational Organised Crime' aspect of the Global Uncertainties project.[60] Interestingly, he did his PhD at the Department of Politics at the University of Exeter[61] (ca. 2010/11[62]) at a time when he would have overlapped with spycop Bob Lambert who was doing a PhD in the same department 2008-2011, and who was associated with the European Muslim Research Centre, also in the Department of Politics, Exeter.
15. Bob Satchwell Society of Editors Executive Director of the Society of Editors, Satchwell is a leading figure in the UK newspaper industry, holding a number of leading positions on representative bodies as well as being a former editor of the Cambridge Evening News. As part of this he has been helped draw up codes of practice. He has also been a member of the Defence Press and Broadcasting Advisory Committee, the Cabinet Office Media Emergencies Forum, Ministry of Justice Information Users’ Group, the Home Office Community Cohesion Media Practitioner Group, the Queen’s Jubilee Communications Committee and the Home Office advisory committee for the review of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act. Primarily he is the Executive Director of the Society of Editors, since its formation in 1999 (it had previously been the Guild of Editors, of which he was President from 1997).[63] The main role of the Defence Press and Broadcasting Advisory Committee is to issue D-Notices (or DA-Notices), a supposedly voluntary system 'prevent inadvertent public disclosure of information that would compromise UK military and intelligence operations and methods, or put at risk the safety of those involved in such operations, or lead to attacks that would damage the critical national infrastructure and/or endanger lives.'[64] There are a number of Standing DA Notices, one of which deals with the protection of undercover officers and operations.[65]
16. Prof Ben Bowling Dickson Poon School of Law An academic with Kings College London. He has been at the School of Law since 1999, and his research 'examines practical, political and legal problems in policing and the connections between local and global police power'. He is a noted academic author on racism, crime, violence and justice.[66] He is also active with the StopWatch coalition, which campaigns on 'excess and disproportionate stop and search, promote best practice and ensure fair, effective policing for all'.[67]
17. Peter Jukes Media consultant Jukes is a playwright, journalist and author on political issues. Author of a book on Rupert Murdoch[68] and noted for his reporting on the phone hacking scandal[69] which resulted in another book Beyond Contempt: Intrigue at Trial of the Century. It is not clear what his expertise on undercover policing is, other than that in 2000/2001 he wrote the fictional TV programme 'In Deep', which was about undercover police who spent years in that role. He said of his research for the script:[70]

"I was getting nowhere through the official channels, but I found two unofficial channels which, obviously, I can't reveal. They took me out to show me the procedures. They weren't operational undercover officers at the time, but they had been or else they were backing up other officers. They knew the whole routine." He is also of note for shadowing lobbyist Ian Greer as part of a research project during the cash-for-questions scandal.[71]

18. Tom Gash Institute for Government Director of Research at the IoG since January 2008; prior to that he had worked as senior crime policy adviser in the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit under Tony Blair, and continues to have a strong interest in crime policy.[72] Noted for a 2008 report 'The New Bill: Modernising the police workforce', for the Institute for Public Policy Research,[73] which argued that the police wage system, based on length of service, should be abolished in favour of performance and skills based salaries.[74]
19. Chris Green Merseyside Police In January 2015 Green was Det. Superintendent for Covert Operations, Merseyside police.[75] He was Chief of Staff to Chief Constable Jon Murphy (see below) in 2012[76]
20. Mick Creedon Chief Constable of Derbyshire Police He is the National Lead Organised Crime for the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), and the figurehead of Operation Herne - the Metropolitan Police's investigation into the activities of its own Special Branch undercover unit, the Special Demonstration Squad. From 2006 to 2007 he was the National Co-ordinator on Serious and Organised Crime for ACPO,[77] and has remained as National Policing Lead for the National Crime Agency Working Group.[78]
21. John Dilworth Crown Prosecution Services He is the Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS North East Area (Newcastle-upon-Tyne), taking up that post in July 2014. Before this he was a high ranking manger in the North West Area as head of the Complex Casework Unit where he had experience of prosecuting cases involving undercover police surveillance.[79][80]
22. Dr Bethan Lofthouse Centre for Criminology No person of this name has been found. However, a spelling mistake may have been made, as there is a Bethan Loftus at the Manchester Centre for Regulation, Governance and Security, Department of Criminology, School of Law, University of Manchester,[81] who has authored a number of academic papers on covert surveillance, RIPA and related subjects,[82] [83] and has been a member of the Oxford University Centre for Criminology.[84] (Bethan Loftus is currently on maternity leave until March 2016 and has not responded to attempts by the Undercover Research Group to contact her).
23. Shaun Sawyer Devon and Cornwall Police Chief Constable. Previously Sawyer had been head of Counter-Terrorism Command (SO13) in the Metropolitan Police in 2009, until he joined Devon and Cornwall Police as Deputy Chief Constable in April 2010. In January 2013 formally he succeeded Stephen Otter (above), as Chief Constable,[85] though he had been acting Chief Constable since March 2012.[86] He is notable for having re-investigated the Suzy Lampugh murder and as head of the Anti-Corruption Unit (CIB3) at Scotland Yard, where he ran covert investigations. From 'From 1996 to 1998 he served within Specialist Operations in the private office of Assistant Commissioner Specialist Operations David Veness and as 'Detective Superintendent Security, Protection and Counter-Terrorism',[87] which would make him closely connected with the Metropolitan Police Special Branch. Veness helped set up the National Public Order Intelligence Unit in 1999, and was in the line of command for the Special Demonstration Squad.

Members attending the 3rd Meeting (February 2015)[19]

  • In attendance: Alex Marshall (chair), Ben Bowling, Mick Creedon, Joe McGuigan, David Tucker, individual (name removed on their request /s40), individual (name removed on national security grounds / s23), Jon Boutcher (phone), John Dilworth (phone). Also in attendance was a new member, Dr. Katerina Hadjimatheou.
  • Apologies: Rob Beckley, Chris Nathan, Bethan Lofthouse, Sophie Khan.

Members attending the 4th Meeting (April 2015)[20]

  • In attendance: Alex Marshall (chair), Ben Bowling, David Tucker, and two new people: Oliver Cattermole, Natalie Davidson both of the College of Policing.
  • In attendance by phone: Sophie Khan, John Dilworth, Mick Creedon, Sue Mountstevens, Katerina Hadjimatheou
  • Apologies: Rob Beckley, Chris Nathan, unnamed psychologist.

Members attending the 5th Meeting (June 2015)[21]

  • In attendance: Alex Marshall (chair), Ben Bowling, Joe McGuigan, Sue Mountstevens, David Tucker, Oliver Cattermole; and two new people Lisa Garland (College of Policing), Frankie Flood (National Undercover Working Group),
  • In attendance by phone: unnamed representative of the National Crime Agency (details removed under Section 23), John Dilworth, Sue Mountstevens
  • Apologies: Rob Beckley, Chris Nathan, unnamed psychologist, Jon Boutcher, Mick Creedon.

Minutes of further meetings

September 2015, October 2015, November 2015, January 2016, October 2016 (opening as a Word file). In July 2016, the Panel organised a public meeting on Undercover Policing Scrutiny at Warwick University.

Additional biographies

Name Role Short biography
1. Dr. Katerina Hadjimatheou Warwick University, Interdisciplinary Ethics Research Group Her research work focuses on 'police ethics, preventive policing, and surveillance'; a Research Fellow on SURVEILLE (see under Chris Nathan above), where she researches the ethics of data retention, preventive policing and profiling in border security.[88]
2. Oliver Cattermole Chief of Staff, College of Policing[89] Previously Communications Manager / Director of Communications for the Association of Chief Police Officers[90] (now the National Police Chiefs Council) where he worked with key individuals such as Sir Hugh Orde, Sara Thornton, Mick Creedon, Alex Marshall, Cressida Dick and Nick Gargan[91]
3. Natalie Davidson Deputy Head of Communications, College of Policing Previously a spokeswoman / Media Manager for the British Transport Police[92] and a senior press officer with the Association of Chief Police Officers.[93] She was Deputy Head of Communications from April 2013 to May 2015, leaving to establish her own public relations consultancy, Swell Communications; she had also been an online sub-editor for The Times and Sunday Times' (2003-2009).[94]
4. Lisa Garland College of Policing Occupational psychologist
5. Frankie Flood, QPM National Undercover Working Group Detective Superintendent, Head of Covert Governance and Intelligence Compliance in 2015.[95] As head of the Covert Standard Unit in the Metropolitan Police is also the secretary of the NPCC's National Operational Security Working GGroup.[96]

Note on disclosure

According to the FOIA response letter, one individual explicitly refused consent on having their details released to the public following the October meeting. [97] In the letter, it noted a concern by Alex Marshall, that there would be 'potential personal impact that any association [with the panel] may cause'; and 'more that the College have recognised the potential personal impact that any disclosure [of individual participants' names] may cause to the panel members and that this may lead to unwarranted intrusion into their personal lives'.

Connected police officers

As the list of police officers sitting on the National Undercover Scrutiny Panel shows, many of their careers overlapped at certain points in time. At first sight, there is nothing wrong with that: people specialise, they have specific qualities and climb the ladder. There are pros and cons on having so many insiders on a scrutiny panel, certainly when their presence is not in balance with outsiders. However, in our research and our efforts to map the staff responsible for the spying operations, we see the same names over and over again. What seems to emerge, is a network of police officers who had overview of undercover policing directed towards political protest and family justice campaigns.

College of Policing - Board of Directors

A number of senior police figures significant in the context of undercover policing against family justice campaigns and 'domestic extremists' have a seat on the board of the College of Policing. In particular Sara Thornton, Peter Fahy and Denis O'Connor.[98]

Thornton and Fahy are vice chairs of ACPO TAM where they had oversight of the national domestic extremism units which ran undercovers such as Mark Kennedy, 'Lynn Watson' and 'Marco Jacobs'. From 2002 to 2004 Fahy was Deputy Chief Constable of Surrey at the time O'Connor was Chief Constable there.

O'Connor, as head of HMIC, was partly responsible for the first report (in 2011) into undercover policing after the exposure of Mark Kennedy. Long before that, in 1998, he and Thornton had crucial roles during the Macpherson Inquiry into the death of Stephen Lawrence. O'Connor was a key member of Commissioner Paul Condon's team as an Assistant Commissioner and Sara Thornton was a member of the Lawrence Review Team, set up by the Commissioner to draft the Metropolitan Police's responses to the damning findings of the Inquiry.

Another member of the Lawrence Review Team was Richard Walton, the officer who had the controversial meeting with the undercover officer N81, spying on the Lawrence family. When the Ellison Review published its findings on this secret meeting, Walton - at that moment head of Counter-Terrorism Command and as such responsible for the oversight of current 'domestic extremism including undercover operations - was removed from his position and his case referred to the Independent Police Complaint Commission for further investigation. Not much later the Home Secretary would announce an Independent Inquiry into the undercover police scandal.

Other police officers of interest

This list of police officers involved in oversight of undercover policing targeting political protest and family justice campaigns is far from complete. With more to come when our research evolves, we will mention just a few others with multiple links to people on the Scrutiny Panel or College of Policing.[99]

  • Nick Gargan is one of those connected figures already mentioned before. Appointed by Sue Mountstevens as Chief Constable of Avon and Somerset Constabulary. Prior to that he was the Chief Executive of the National Police Improvement Agency, and before that an Assistant Chief Constable at Thames Valley Police under Sara Thornton. He, Alex Marshall, Rob Beckley, Sara Thornton, Peter Fahy, and another senior officer of interest, Lynne Owens, Chief Constable of Surrey, are all members of the Police Conference Steering Commitee for Cumberland Lodge.[29]
  • Bernard Hogan-Howe, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. First author of the first report of HMIC into undercover policing in 2011, where he served under the Chief Inspector of Constabulary, Denis O'Connor. While Chief Constable of Merseyside, his assistant constables included Jon Murphy and Pat Gallan.
  • Patricia Gallan, was an assistant chief constable for the National Crime Squad where she worked with Jon Murphy. With Murphy, moves to Merseyside Police where they are senior officers under Bernard Hogan-Howe, and serves under the latter at the Metropolitan Police as Assistant Commissioner Specialist Operations. Hogan-Howe appointed her to set up Operation Soisson to investigate the allegations around the Special Demonstration Squad internally. Soisson would later be renamed Operation Herne. She was also Chair of the National Undercover Working Group until January 2013, stepping down because of her workload.[100]
  • Jon Murphy, Chief Constable of Merseyside, where he had served under Bernard Hogan-Howe. He was the Chief Constable Chris Green was staff officer to in 2012. It was Murphy who spoke out on behalf of ACPO as the Mark Kennedy undercover policing scandal broke in 2011.[101]

External resources

As a result of our repeated Freedom of Information requests, the National Undercover Scrutiny Panel now publishes the minutes of their meetings at College of Policing disclosure site.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Jason Lavan, National undercover scrutiny panel, College of Policing press release, 13 March 2015 (accessed 23 March 2015).
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 National Undercover Scrutiny Panel, October minutes College of Policing, undated (accessed 23 March 2015).
  3. 3.0 3.1 Sophie Khan, The National Undercover Scrutiny Panel, Police Action Centre blog,, 27 April 2015, accessed 2 June 2015
  4. This report is restricted, but cited in the HM Inspectorate of Constabulary 2014 report, vide infra.
  5. Stephen Otter (lead author), An inspection of undercover policing in England and Wales, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary, 14 October 2014 (accessed 21 March 2015).
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Association of Chief Police Officers, Reforms of undercover policing already underway, 14 October 2014 (accessed 23 March 2015).
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Press Association, [Undercover police watchdog slammed], Sunday Post, 14 October 2014 (accessed 23 March 2015).
  8. Jonathan Owen, Half of all undercover police officers in UK are ‘off the books’ and not on national database, The Independent, 14 October 2014 (accessed 26 March 2015).
  9. The College of Policing is a national police body that replaced the National Policing Improvement Agency that had in turn replaced Centrex, though it appears a number of employees simply continued their job through the organisational changes.Undercover Research Group, examination of staff histories, 23rd March 2015, unpublished work. See for example, Sarah Clapperton, Profile,, undated (accessed 23 March 2015)
  10. She also said: "I will place their responses in the Library of the House when I receive them." Theresa May, Home Secretary, Written statement to Parliament: Undercover Policing, Gov.UK, 14 October 2014 (accessed 25 October 2015).
  11. Association of Chief Police Officers, Business Area: Crime, undated (accessed 21 March 2015)
  12. 12.0 12.1 Home Office, Serious and Organised Crime Local Profiles: A Guide, November 2014 (accessed 21 March 2015).
  13. Police raids to recover stolen rhino horn, Echo News (Newsquest (Essex) Ltd), 10 September 2013 (accessed 21 March 2015).
  14. National Undercover Scrutiny Panel, Terms of Reference, College of Policing, undated (accessed 23 March 2015).
  15. 15.0 15.1 Neil Smith, Letter to Peter Salmon, College of Policing, 7 July 2014; produced at in response to a FOIA request of Peter Salmon.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 Rob Beckley, Undercover Meeting Letter, College of Policing, 7 July 2014; produced at in response to a FOIA request of Peter Salmon.
  17. Apparently there were oversights in the process resulting in him not being informed of future meetings.
  18. Undercover Research Group interview with Peter Jukes, 29 June 2015.
  19. 19.0 19.1 Rob Beckley, National Oversight Group Minutes, College of Policing, 5 February 2015; produced at in response to a FOIA request of Peter Salmon.
  20. 20.0 20.1 Minutes of 4th Meeting of the National Oversight Group, College of Policing, 29 April 2015; produced at in response to a FOIA request of Peter Salmon.
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 Minutes of 5th Meeting of the National Oversight Group, College of Policing, 24 June 2015; produced at in response to a FOIA request of Peter Salmon. These minutes appear attached to the minutes of the 4th Meeting and one needs to scroll down to page 9 to find them.
  22. College of Policing, National undercover scrutiny panel set up, 12 March 2015 (accessed 1 April 2015). Note, this is a different press release than the statement issued on 13 March 2015, which contained a list of members of the Panel, and additionally, the minutes of the October meeting, both missing from the 12 March statement. It has been updated on 4 June 2015 to remove comments of Sophie Khan following her resignation from the Panel; a copy of the original has been archived by the Undercover Research Group.
  23. Results of a search conducted by the Undercover Research Group 17-25th March 2015, though the Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner did put up a notice on their website that Sue Mountstevens was a member, though merely redirected to the College of Policing for more detail.
  24. 'RetiredAndAngry', CofP National UC Scrutiny Panel – Sophie Fights Back, (blog), 18 March 2015 (accessed 21 March 2015).
  25. James Murray, Lawyer slams the 'racist' police she works for, The Express, 29 March 2015 (accessed 30 March 2015).
  26. ActiveMessage, Lots of upset from the ranks as @khan_sophie is given a place on the @CollegeofPolice scrutiny panel for undercover policing, Twitter, 13 March 2015 (accessed 30 March 2015), Josh Loeb, Scrutiny panellist denies being 'anti-police, Police Oracle, 17 March 2015 (accessed 3 June 2015 - a search by the Undercover Research Group of social media found mention of concern from police officers regarding Sophie Khan's presence on the panel over her previous criticism of police - see for example this search on twitter).
  27. College of Policing, Updated statement on the National Undercover Scrutiny Panel, 1 April 2015 (accessed 1 April 2015); this is an update of the statement issued on 31st March.
  28. 28.0 28.1 Sophie Khan, The Panel was a good idea but..., Police Action Centre blog,, 1 June 2015, accessed 2 June 2015
  29. 29.0 29.1 29.2 Police Conference Steering Committee, undated (accessed 21 March 2015).
  30. David Fickling & agencies, Animal rights activist admits firebombing attempts, The Guardian, 17 August 2006 (accessed 23 March 2015).
  31. College of Policing, Alex Marshall: Chief Executive, undated (21 March 2015).
  32. HET acting illegally in approach to security force member connected killings, 3 July 2012 (accessed 23 March 2015).
  33. Stephen Otter QPM,, undated (accessed 23 March 2015).
  34. Metropolitan Police Authority, MPA appoints new Deputy Assistant Commissioners and Commanders to the Met, 31 October 2001 (accessed 23 March 2015).
  35. Police Action Centre, Our People, undated (accessed 26 March 2015).
  36. GT Stewart Solicitors & Advocates HCA Sophie joins us from Imran Khan & Partners, 19 January 2012 (undated 26 March 2015).
  37. Sophie Khan, My legal life: Sophie Khan, Law Gazette, 28 June 1998 (accessed 26 March 2015).
  38. Daniel Evans, Sue Mountstevens apologises after telling Chief Constable Nick Gargan the name of a whistle-blower who complained about him, Bristol Post, 24 October 2014 (accessed 25 March 2015).
  39. Metropolitan Police Service, Organisational Chart, December 2012 (accessed 21 March 2015).
  40. Richard Martin, [Profile],, undated (accessed 21 March 2015).
  41. Embassy of Sweden, The Hague, Richard Martin, undated (accessed 24 March 2015)
  42. 42.0 42.1 Colette Paul, Chief Constable of Bedforshire, Jon Boutcher is My New Deputy, 7 May 2014 (accessed 23 March 2015).
  43. Hertfordshire Police, Organisational Chart, June 2014 (accessed 2 April 2015).
  44. Menezes officers 'changed mind', BBC News Online, 4 October 2007 (accessed 24 March 2015).
  45. 45.0 45.1 Jon Boutcher, Profile,, undated (accessed 23 March 2015).
  46. 46.0 46.1 Home Affairs Committee, Terrorism and Community Relations: oral and written evidence, 25 January 2005 (accessed 22 March 2015).
  47. Tristan Kirk, Enfield Borough Commander Dave Tucker steps down after 31 years in the Met, Enfield Independent, 1 November 2011 (accessed 23 March 2015).
  48. Gordon Ryan, Profile,, undated (accessed 21 March 2015).
  49. CompanyCheck, Prism Work Psychology Ltd, undated (accessed 21 March 2015).
  50. Vikram Dodd, Nicholas Watt & Andrew Sparrow, Senior police officers attack 42-day plan, The Guardian, 9 June 2008 (accessed 22 March 2015).
  51. College of Policing, Rob Beckley, undated (accessed 21 March 2015).
  52. Andrew Hough, Avon and Somerset police chief quits after being told to 'reapply for his job', The Telegraph, 21 November 2012 (accessed 21 March 2015).
  53. Natalie Davison, Appointment of Chief Operating Officer for the College of Policing, College of Policing, 17 May 2013 (accessed 21 March 2015).
  54. Dublin Drug Smuggler Jailed, / Daily Northern Ireland News, 30 August 2007 (accessed 22 March 2015).
  55. Cocaine find at Belfast International airport,, 23 October 2007, 30 August 2007 (accessed 22 March 2015).
  56. David Carrigan, davidcarrigan's public profile,, undated (accessed 22 March 2015).
  57. David Carrigan, Profile,, undated (accessed 22 March 2015).
  58. Christopher Nathan, Profile, Warwick University, undated (accessed 24 March 2015)
  59. Christopher Nathan, Research, (blog), undated (accessed 23 March 2015).
  60. Christopher Nathan, About, (blog), undated (accessed 23 March 2015).
  61. Christopher Nathan, Profile,, undated (accessed 23 March 2015).
  62. Eight Annual Conference 31 August - 2 September 2011, final programme, Mancept Workshops in Political Theory, 2011 (accessed 23 March 2015)
  63. Society of Editors, Bob Satchwell, undated (accessed 23 March 2015).
  64. Defence Press and Broadcasting Advisory Committee, Welcome to the website of the Defence Advisory (DA) Notice system undated (accessed 23 March 2015).
  65. Number 5, 'UK Security & Intelligence Services & Special Services', which states: Information falling within the following categories is normally regarded as being highly classified. It is requested that such information, unless it has been the subject of an official announcement or has been widely disclosed or discussed, should not be published without first seeking advice:
    (a) specific covert operations, sources and methods of the Security Service, SIS and GCHQ, Defence Intelligence Units, Special Forces and those involved with them, the application of those methods*, including the interception of communications, and their targets; the same applies to those engaged on counter-terrorist operations;
    (b) the identities, whereabouts and tasks of people who are or have been employed by these services or engaged on such work, including details of their families and home addresses, and any other information, including photographs, which could assist terrorist or other hostile organisations to identify a target;
    (c) addresses and telephone numbers used by these services, except those now made public.
    [*] even when used by the National Crime Agency (NCA). This is intended purely to protect national security and not to inhibit normal reporting on law enforcement.
    Source: Defence Press and Broadcasting Advisory Committee, Standing DA-Notices, undated (accessed 24 March 2015).
  66. King's College London, Professor Benjamin Bowling, undated (accessed 22 March 2015).
  67. StopWatch, Our Team, undated (accessed 22 March 2015).
  68. Peter Jukes, The fall of the House of Murdoch, Unbound books, 2012.
  69. Anoosh Chakelian, Why and how Peter Jukes live-tweeted the entire phonehacking trial, New Statesman, 12 June 2014 (accessed 2 April 2015).
  70. Teddie Jamieson, An exploration of the lives of two undercover detectives is definitely a force to be reckoned with, Herald Scotland, 19 February 2001 (accessed 23 March 2015).
  71. David Hencke, Statement in case of Neil Hamilton, Ian Greer & Ian Greer Associates Ltd v. David Hencke, Peter Preston & Guardian Newspapers Ltd, Case no. 1994-H-No-1654, 26 June 1995. Published as Appendix 14 in the First Report of the Select Committee on Standards and Privileges (accessed 23 March 2015).
  72. Institute of Government, Tom Gash, undated (accessed 24 March 2015).
  73. Tom Gash, The New Bill: Modernising the police workforce, Institute for Public Policy Research, 4 February 2008 (accessed 24 March 2015).
  74. Overhaul of police pay proposed, 21 January 2008 (accessed 24 March 2015).
  75. Merseyside Police, Chief Officer Portfolio and Force Structure, January 2015 (accessed 21 March 2015).
  76. InquiringMinds, Merseyside Police, Chris Green, Staff Officer to the Chief Constable – re. arrest and secret trial of Roger Hayes –sent to UKC by R Theobald – Kate UKC, 16 July 2012 (accessed 21 March 2015).
  77. Derbyshire Police, Chief Officers, undated (25 October 2015).
  78. Mick Creedon, Fighting serious organised crime, 18 November 2013 (accessed 24 March 2015).
  79. John Dilworth, Profile, (undated), accessed 25 March 2015).
  80. Beth Abbit, Wife of drugs lord spared jail, Accrington Observer, 23 August 2013 (accessed 25 March 2015).
  81. School of Law, Staff Profiles: Bethan Loftus, University of Manchester, undated (accessed 31 March 2015).
  82. Bethan Loftus &apm; Benjamin Goold, Covert surveillance and the invisibilities of policing, Criminology & Criminal Justice, Sage Journals, 2012 (accessed 25 March 2015).
  83. School of Law, Dr Bethan Loftus - Publications, University of Manchester, undated (accessed 25 March 2015).
  84. Bethan Loftus, Police Culture in a Changing World, Oxford University Press, 2009.
  85. Shaun Sawyer to become Devon and Cornwall police chief, BBC News Online, 16 January 2013 (accessed 22 March 2015).
  86. Shaun Sawyer to be Devon and Cornwall chief constable, BBC News Online, 6 March 2012 (accessed 22 March 2015).
  87. Metropolitan Police Authority, MPA appoints new Metropolitan Police commanders, press release, 4 November 2004 (accessed 22 March 2015).
  88. University of Warwick, Katerina Hadjimatheou (biographical details), undated (accessed 4 July 2015).
  89. Meeting of the Board of Directors, College of Policing, 3 December 2014 (accessed 28 September 2015).
  90. Ollie Cattermole, Profile,, undated (accessed 28 September 2015).
  91. Association of Chief Police Officers, ACPO Cabinet: Minutes of the meeting held on Wednesday, 12 September 2012, London, (accessed 28 September 2015).
  92. Train hits car at level crossing, BBC News Online, 6 June 2009 (accessed 28 September 2015).
  93. Office of National Statistics, List of Recipients by Release, undated (accessed 28 September 2015).
  94. Natalie Davison, Profile,, undated (accessed 28 September 2015).
  95. Metropolitan Police Service, Met officers and staff receive Queen's Birthday Honours, press release, 13 June 2015 (accessed 28 September 2015).
  96. Warwickshire Police, National Operational Security working group, 2015 (accessed 28 September 2015).
  97. Neil Smith, Letter to Peter Salmon, College of Policing, 2 July 2014, page 8
  98. College of Policing, The Board, undated (accessed 21 March 2015).
  99. Future profiles will also include the former Assistant Commissioner Specialist Operations at the Metropolitan Police, David Veness, Bob Quick and John Yates; all three would have had oversight of both the domestic extremism units and the Special Demonstration Squad in that role.
  100. Metropolitan Police Service, Clarification on ACPO lead for National Undercover Working Group, 5 February 2013 (accessed 23 March 2015).
  101. Paul Lewis and Rob Evans, Spying on protest groups has gone badly wrong, police chiefs say, The Guardian, 19 January 2011 (accessed 31 March 2015).
Categories: UndercoverResearch